Nightmare on the Rozengracht

Nightmare on the Rozengracht

Why Watch? Experimental? Probably. Non-narrative to be sure, this mesmerizing work from Daniel Hillel-Tuch features a pair of ballet dancers stuck on a destructive loop while a young boy looks on with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. The commentary on cinema is obvious from frame one, and it only intensifies as beautiful flashes of genre staples dominate the screen — the bloody bucket of a torturous horror flick, the dangling pay phone bathed in noirish streetlamp light. It’s not a ground-shiftingly new idea, but it’s executed with great care and gorgeously vivid photography. The film strip feeding back into the projector on its own is a particularly nice touch. Plus, through the fog of all the poetry, it’s easy to imagine ourselves as that young man, eyes forced open Clockwork Orange-style by the beauty and destruction of film. That clear connection (personal as it is) makes Nightmare on the Rozengracht an intriguing success.

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