Synopsis by Mark Deming
The man-made landscape of the post-millennium world is seen through two very different sets of eyes in this experimental feature from filmmaker Jem Cohen. Tamiko (Miho Nikaido) is a woman in her early thirties who works for a Japanese steel-manufacturing firm. Tamiko is involved in a major international research project in which she's studying "entertainment real estate," which means she spends her days exploring shopping centers, hotel complexes, and theme parks, and reports back on what she discovers. Meanwhile, Amanda Timms (Mira Billotte) is a teenage runaway from Middle America who, after using up her nest egg (her mother's credit card), is holing up in an abandoned building near a huge shopping center. Amanda spends her days working odd jobs in the retail stores and fast food joints near her "home," and in her spare time, videotapes her surroundings for the benefit of her sister as she adds stream-of-consciousness narration. Designed to create a framework for informally shot "street footage" Cohen had collected over a period of six years, Chain was executive produced by Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto of the independent rock band Fugazi, who collaborated with Cohen on Instrument, a film about the band's eventful history. Chain also features an original score by the Canadian experimental music ensemble Godspeed You Black Emperor!
homelessness, Japan, Japanese [nationality], landscape, research, runaway [from home], steelworker, teenagers, video-tape