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This is Not a Dream (2011) | How to change the world with your video camera… or create your own

This is Not a Dream

From Time Out London cabaret editor Ben Walters and art historian Gavin Butt, This is Not a Dream sets out to show how with a camera and some imagination you can change the world. The video revolution of the 1970s and 1980s has given avant-garde, experimental and radical video-based artists the ability to defy reality with fantasy. This illuminating documentary looks at how 12 such artists have used video to bring their dazzling, often anarchic, visions to light, beginning with Andy Warhol’s seminal TV Party hosted by Blondie’s Chris Stein and style guru Glenn O’Brien. Interspersing these interviews, drag fabulist Dicki Beau performs I Want to Be An Artist, a wonderful homage to Quentin Crisp, and Orson’s Innocence, a melancholy tribute to Orson Welles.

This is Not a Dream

Among the interviewees are Vaginal Davis, on the San Francisco queercore scene; multi-media artist Nao Bustamente on her brush with notoriety on The Joan Rivers Show; David Hoyle on the perils he faced adapting his avant-garde comedy for Channel 4’s The Divine David; and Kalup Linzy on how soap operas have informed his art. Britain’s Holestar focuses on London’s fiercely unique transgressive cabaret scene, while fellow artiste Scottee reveals why food plays an important role in his films and stage acts. Finally, Cole Escola and London Cabaret award-winner Alp Haydar discuss the cathartic experience of turning personal issues into video art and how YouTube has helped them reach a wider audience. It’s fascinating stuff and hugely empowering.

Click on the links to check out the YouTube channels for Dickie Beau, Dara Birnbaum, Nao Bustamante, Cole Escola, Alp Haydar, Holestar, David Hoyle, Kalup Linzy, and Scottee.

Order the DVD here

For more details about this and other Crossovers DVD titles (click here)


Upstream Colour (2013) | A psychedelic love story for the modern age or pretentious arthouse nonsense?

upstream colour dvd

Marketing director Kris (Amy Seimetz) is targeted by a thief who steals her identity and assets and doses her with a mind-altering worm. A pig farmer/doctor/sound engineer (Andrew Sensenig) saves her. As she recovers, she meets Jeff (Shane Carruth), who also starts feeling ill. The couple start seeing each other. They have sex in a field where lots of pigs run about. Everything is bathed in diffused lighting. Some orchids turn blue. Jeff leaves his boring corporate auditing job. Kris is sacked from hers. A litter of piglets run about. Kris and Jeff start sharing the same memories and hear strange sounds in their heads. The pig farmer/sound engineer/doctor gets shot. After discovering she is infertile, Kris gets a piglet as a substitute child. The film ends as it begins…

Upstream Colour

Upstream Colour is described as a modern-day fable exploring the connection between nature and the human psyche, drawing on American philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s transcendental 1854 autobiography, Walden; or Life in the Woods as its inspiration. Part love story, part poetic science-fiction, it is the second film from Shane Carruth, who writes, produces, directs and acts here. Carruth’s previous film was the 2004 time travel tale Primer, which was made for just $7000 and won a Sundance Special Jury Prize for Sound Design.

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Upstream Colour has been hailed by critics as ‘visually imaginative’, ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘staggeringly original’, while its detractors have called it ‘pretentious’ and a ‘baffling mess’. As for me, well I remain… perplexed. There’s a mournful sense of emptiness and longing lurking in every shot, which often don’t link together, and I think Carruth is commenting on how we fail to connect with each other and the world (read: nature) around us.

Now, I might be totally wrong because I have never read Walden, but then maybe Carruth just wants us to mediate on what it could possibly be about – be it an allegory about love or a comment on self-medication, turning away from nature, and free will etc. If that’s his intention, then he’s certainly achieved it, despite the deadly dull characters who have more ‘issues’ than you can wave a stick at, ponderous story and wholly pretentious photography that wouldn’t look out of place in hipster ad campaign for Calvin Klein, Chanel or like. Whatever you think of it, Upstream Colour is truly one of a kind, and a film that certainly gets people talking. Cult destiny awaits!

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Upstream Colour is out on Blu-ray and DVD from Metrodome Distribution


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