Have you ever seen -- or even heard of -- a live documentary? That's what David Cerf and Sam Green's Utopia in Four Movements is labeled, and it is and has the capability to be more organic than most non-fiction films. Really, it's more of an academic lecture with accompanying score and PowerPoint presentation (well, Apple Keynote presentation), but you know a lot of documentaries are like that anyway, just without the in-house presence of the narrator and band. Green recites, with some apparent improvisation, what would otherwise be voice-over, while Cerf mixes the soundtrack from a laptop as members of the Brooklyn-based group The Quavers perform ambient music on guitar, trumpet, violin and vibraphone.

The focus of the film/lecture is the idea of utopia, how it has been attempted and how it likely will never exist, just as Thomas More presumed when he coined the term (utopia = "no place" in Greek). Utopia in Four Movements argues that the progression of events of the 20th century is evidence for why utopia is so difficult to achieve, whether they're related to "good" communities or those horrible pseudo-Utopian societies that squash others with conflicting ideals (see the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, the KKK, Stalin's Soviet Union, North Korea and way too many other genocides, regimes and organizations from the last hundred years). Yet he does highlight some developments, such as the invention of the shopping mall and the endurance of Castro's Cuba, that at least hint at possibilities for modest utopias, whether based in capitalism or communism.
categories Movies, Reviews, Cinematical