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By David Finkelstein | July 29, 2003

The source footage of “Blue Movie” is loops constructed from old porn films, which, judging from the ladies’ hairstyles, might be from the ’50s or ’40s. The first loop repeatedly shows a man bending over a woman. The film is hand painted so that each successive frame is a different color – blue, purple, yellow, orangey red. The overall effect is not of any particular color but of a rhythmic flicker, which both pulses and fragments and slows down the action. Yarden’s exotic string music lends a feeling of lushness.

A middle section shows the alluring glances of several women, covered by moving squares of purple and blue, and darker splotches of black. The soundtrack is constructed from loops of Anais Nin reading from her diaries, fragments which sound like descriptions of her feelings of alienation in her relationships with men. The radical female subjectivity of Nin’s voice, contrasted with the radical objectifying power of the porn images, makes a powerful statement. The floating squares emphasize the frames of film, and the power of film as a way of containing and controlling female sexuality.

A short final section shows a loop of a woman, moving from a pose with eyes closed and lowered to gazing directly at the camera, mediating directly between her subjectivity and her objectification.

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