People Like Us – Story Without End DVD

4 out of 5

Label: Sonic Arts Network

Produced by: People Like Us

Four short films (4-10 minutes each) commissioned between 2002 and 2005, applying Vicki Bennett’s cut and paste mentality to archival footage, mixed and matched with music and voice samples.  If you like People Like Us’ (Bennett) more maximalist style – more repetition; non-stop information – “Story Without End” is enjoyable simple on a ‘musical’ level, although “The Remote Controller” film, being synced almost totally to dialogue, is better experienced with its visuals.  And as that’s moreso the intention here, mapping the image collages to the words and sounds, the DVD is a very watchable affair, with Bennett having creatively pieced together layers and layers of oddball pictures, but not done so overwhelmingly as to just be a clutter.  There’s a discernible theme of technology, and communication, and the tone is that weird wave the PLU rides that hovers between kitsch and something more contemplative, creating a nice, trancelike effect for a viewing.

Though “Story Without End” is the titlepiece, opener “We Edit Life” shares some images and (I think) themes, and so sort of takes over in terms of impact, with “Resemblage,” the third piece, perhaps being the least distinctive of the four shorts, though it’s also the shortest.  Given the overall runtime of 30 minutes, the DVD – which is packaged in a unique, cardboard foldout – is certainly fascinating enough to hold one’s attentions throughout, in half-smiles, half-wonder, and compelling enough to be more than just a curiosity, meriting relistens / reviewings.