The Arc

What makes Rob Tregenza’s second feature (after Talking to Strangers) a bit of a letdown is the fact that its conceptual program is much harder to follow than the achronological series of ten-minute takes that make up its remarkable predecessor. Once again, the main connecting thread is a single character (played by Jason Adams), viewed chronologically this time in discontinuous fragments over the arc of several years and various locations — ranging from Baltimore, where we first see him as a welder, to the southwest, where he appears to die and undergo a resurrection. The formal treatment of the material ranges from rapid montage (in the opening sequence) to more conventional editing to lengthy takes without any apparent consistent pattern. Tregenza remains a master cinematographer throughout, and the various ellipses between sequences are often as provocative as the sequences themselves. But the dialogue and the direction of the actors create zones of ambiguity that seem less functional here than they did in the existential encounters in Talking to Strangers; at times they seem to be pointing to a religious or spiritual subtext. The results are certainly original — Tregenza clearly has a vision and an approach all his own — but also somewhat hermetic. With Katherine Kelley, Catherine Fogarty, and Hugh Nees. (JR)

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