Boys of Bremen
2002
Digital Video
26 minutes

In Mark Mangion ́s Boys of Bremen (2002), six bare men wander aimlessly through a darkly lit subterranean space. The camera immediately assumes an aggressive viewpoint in a somewhat oppressive environment. While scanning through dark and light, the camera aims and points vigorously, as these figures scrounge around this stark architectural space.

Are these actors performing? Are they individuals who have been manipulated by the artist in a calculated way? Are they simply common people who are performing a ritual or some form of escapist exercise? Whoever they are, they move around this space with acute presence whilst the camera interacts with them with striking confidence, subtlety and precision.

The figures dominate their space. This space in fact is a very detached one, a middle space. One feels totally transported into this artificial space. One gets the sense of a potentially dangerous breeding ground or perhaps the last safe-haven for these individuals.

The electric soundtrack works with a controlled and maddening rhythm but never feels over worked. No clear and easy narrative comes from this 25 minute long film, though one always feels an imminent and ominous threat. Violence hangs strangely, with these poetically filmed characters. Boys of Bremen never strives to become a Philip Glass piece of music or another Lynchian offshoot. Instead it assumes a synchronised yet pattern-less form and space, which though claustrophobic, always remains engaging and open-ended.

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