A singular, cinematic experience even in the realm of abstract experimental cinema, Isiah Medina's 88:88 is a incendiary collage of image and sound which confronts poverty and social injustice. Certainly challenging and abstract at first, 88:88 interweaves the filmmakers family and friends with audio & visual disunity, offering up a film that isn't simply impressionistic but transfixing. This is radical cinema that is challenging, opaque, yet intoxicating, as 88:88 evokes a great sense of pain, loneliness, and isolation as it explores humanity that finds itself at the bottom of the food chain, exhibiting the feelings and emotions of those who have nothing, no home and no worth, in a society that defines success by materialistic ideals. The film is equally universal and deeply personal, as it attempts to get to the very core of these types of social issues, attacking them not only from a moral perspective but also ambitiously from a psychological perspective which at least for me, evoked an even more visceral reaction. The film has absolutely no narrative, but it does have some variation of story, as these various family members and friends each struggle in the world around them. There are aspects of the film that feel very dream-like in that regard, evoking a sense of memory, capturing how emotion typically shape these experiences. There is some dialogue but it really serves to supplement the visual aesthetic, not the other way around, as the images themselves do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to expressing the filmmakers' ideals. There is little real context to these character's plight but that is exactly what makes 88:88 so resonant, as it's a film that evokes the feelings, emotions, and psychology of human suffering, tapping into the core of pain and attempting to break it down and comprehend it. There is a lot of striking imagery throughout 88:88, but one particularly sequence really stood out - a a scene in which a character stands handcuffed in the middle of downtown Winnipeg (I think). The sequence is shot with a low angle, as Isiah Medina uses this imagery to evoke many of the film's larger ideals, visually expressing the boxed in, trapped state of many less fortunate individuals in society through the handcuffs and composition, contrasting their plight with the paramount successes of others, who tower over them, like the skyscrapers up above. Isiah Medina's 88:88 is obviously not a film for everyone, but for those interested in more challenging, experimental fare, 88:88 is a truly impressive debut that is sure to evoke a host of reactions from those willing to give it a shot.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.