Mark Lewis’ Invention is a visual experience, rather than a feature film. The Canadian artist elevates form over substance, presenting an inspiring collection of landmarks, cityscapes, and urban details.
A well-known photographer whose exhibitions have travelled all around the world over the last 15 years, Lewis focuses particularly on camera angles, light reflections, perspective, shadows, and architectural contrasts. Invention is an advancing tour of tall glass buildings, snowy streets and squares, sunny pavements, people walking at sunset, museum halls, and many other outdoor and indoor locations. Like a curious person’s gaze, the camera slowly pans and tilts following the landmarks’ shapes and angles, creating a natural and flowing feeling for the viewer.
Shot in Toronto, Paris and Sao Paolo, the piece features a wide variety of images. It includes dramatic differences in atmosphere, lighting and style, which audaciously highlight many different perspectives, in a sometimes subtly impressionistic and sometimes vividly detailed – but always passive – experience.
The camera flies over cities, through streets, staircases and windows, in a restless journey of observation and discovery. It recalls many films’ initial establishing shots, where the mood and tone for the ensuing feature are set in a glimpse. Lewis takes his time to get the whole picture across, with many shots lasting well over a minute. Shot completely in long single takes, and without characters or background music, the film takes a great deal of effort to sit through from start to finish, at 87 minutes running time. Nevertheless, it has been a fixture at a number of festivals over the last year, not only in Berlin, but also Toronto, Vancouver, London and Chicago.
More than an enjoyable cinematic experience, Invention is a piece of modern art that would arguably fit better in an the screening room at an architecture museum, or in a photography exhibition. Viewers would enjoy Lewis’ film better in a contextualised environment where motifs, style and productions are explained and included as part of a bigger picture.
Invention does not yet have an official UK release date.
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