*Corpus Callosum (2002)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - Canada   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This feature-length video by venerable experimental filmmaker Michael Snow gets its title from the area of the brain that passes messages between the right and left hemispheres. Like his other work, it investigates issues of perception and illusion through a rigorous structure enlivened with considerable wit. In this case, Snow explores the concept of metamorphosis through a mind-boggling show of digital effects. Snow often sprinkles his work with humor, but *Corpus Callosum may be the founding member of an entirely new genre of experimental comedies of perception. For most of the video's length, the camera tracks laterally through an anonymous office space that seems to repeat infinitely. Each time the room is seen, some new permutation has taken place; people change desks, or clothes, or suddenly morph into odd shapes, for instance. Interspersed with these shots are other scenes that are also set up as perceptual gags and guessing games (in one, the viewer finds him or herself trying to anticipate which of the many objects fastened to a wall will explode). Linking everything together are a hero and a heroine, who exist only in the most abstract sense of the term because they exchange identities, genders, and ages continuously. *Corpus Callosum creates a visual field that is constantly in flux. It's impossible, on a single viewing, to take in all the visual puns and perceptual jokes, but if one is willing to stay with it, it becomes a feast for the eyes and the mind.