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Fruitlands 1843

      Fruitlands 1843, made by Vasiliki Katsarou, offers a 39-minute fictional recreation of Bronson Alcott's famous experiment in utopian living, filmed in a Shaker Village in the spot where it actually happened, Harvard, Massachusetts. Katsarou, a formidable talent, shot in breathtaking 35 mm in extraordinary long takes. I don't know if I've ever been as awe-struck by cinematography in a local film: hail the D.P., Havis Zamberloukos.

     But Katsarou's impressive film suffers a bit because of the too-determined artiness. The script is so miminal that, frankly, it's a bit of a puzzle to comprehend. All the people in the commune are dour and damned tense, though I'm not certain why. There's no need for a laughing club, but even a transcendentalist tale could use a pinch of levity.

(May, 2000)

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