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By Merle Bertrand | October 6, 2000

Perhaps the best way to approach this compilation of three, quarter century-old surreal short films by Pegarty Long is from a philosophical perspective; a cinematic take on an age-old question. In this case, one could ask, “If a freaky and bizarre image exists for no reason but to exist, then does it really exist at all?” “I’m on film, therefore I am,” the image could argue. What am I prattling on about? Beats the hell outta me, but then so does “Incision” and the other two shorts contained herein.
This is one freakin’ weird tape…and not necessarily weird in a good way. There will be no plot summary because none of these three films seemed to have any discernible plot. In addition to “Incision,” for some probably arbitrary reason the apparent flagship of this dreary triad, the tape also contains the shorts “Irreversible” and the confoundingly-named “And Then There’s Always the Possibility of Disappearing Altogether.” Not much chance of that, with a name that long plastered across the ol’ crew T-shirts.
There doesn’t seem to be any great difference between these three films. All feature a host of gloomy, vaguely nightmarish images mostly having to do with death, decay and depression and all apparently photographed through the same “Grey and Colorless” filter. The same sort of freaky whispered voices also overlay all three films. In fact, if not for the credits at the end of one film and the start of the next, it’s doubtful a viewer could tell where one film ends and the next begins. Long exacerbates this problem by cannibalizing footage from “Incision,” re-using several shots in “…Possibility of Disappearing…” Then again, she probably indulged in such recycling on purpose for “artistic” reasons which made perfect sense at the time…but only to her.
And that’s usually the way with surreal and experimental films in general: they often only make sense to the person who made them…and even that meaning is questionable, subjective and often changes from day to day. To a casual viewer — one that isn’t trying to play along with the pretentiousness, that is — films like “Incision” et. al appear to be nothing more than weirdness for weirdness sake.
That said, there are more than enough filmmaking “artists” making self-important, surreal, and impenetrably arty tripe today. There’s really no need to go rummaging around twenty-five year old archives to find more.

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