Nas Correntes de Luz Ria Formosa (1999)

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Shot on digital video in a Portuguese fishing village, Nas Correntes de Luz Ria Formosa continues the experimentation with light, composition and digital effects that Jon Jost began with 1997's London Brief. But where jagged, fragmented compositions dominated that earlier piece, Nas Correntes consists of soft-focus, slow motion images that capture the slow pace of the town where it was made. The video is divided into sections, some of which are introduced by texts relating to light. In fact, every image seems to swim in the blinding seaside light that is the film's true subject. Trees, people and houses all seem to be in danger of being swallowed by it. There is a serene beauty to every shot. Some of them resemble still lives that quiver in the sun that blurs the edges of every object. Unfortunately Nas Correntes goes on a bit too long. There is none of the visual variety of the more successful London Brief, and after a while the images, for all their beauty, become monotonous. This may be the effect that Jost had in mind: these glowing landscapes are meant to engulf the viewer and convey the slow rhythms of life in the village. But at nearly two hours, with many images repeating to no real purpose, the film begins to smack of the self-indulgence that Jost has been prone to when not working in a narrative vein.