Sunday, July 29, 2007

4 Elements (Jiska Rickels, 2006)

**
Netherlands

The title hints at grandiose ambitions and is an unfortunate choice as such. Had Jiska Rickel's fashionably impressionistic doco been christened "Filthy Men Performing Soul-Numbing Labour in Isolated Regions of the World", it would have seemed less of a failure. Rickel deserves kudos for eschewing the National Geographic postcard aesthetic, though the ugly, shapeless point-and-shoot visual style she adopts instead makes for a lazy alternative. The sullen new-age score signals you to watch out for the mystery and majesty of the four elements, though none of it is captured in the images. Rickel may provide moderate insight into male camaraderie in grueling, high-risk working environments, but she has nothing new - in fact, nothing at all to say about man's present relationship to them pesky elements.

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