1, 2, 3, WHITEOUT: THE END OF THE LIGHT AGE
1,2,3, Whiteout: The End of the Light Age nominally toys with science-fiction ideas but mostly it feels like another of James June Schneiders experimental films. Schneider shoots random images of streetlights and pedestrian crossing signals, cranes in shipyards, the patterns made by carnival lights or neon reflected on the river. There are numerous scenes of streets and building exteriors by night wherein the film is affected by flecks of what looks like glowing fireflies. There are randomly interspersed pieces of war film footage from WWII and the Iraq War, although why is not clear. Certainly there is a beauty to some of the effects that Schneider achieves shots of night buildings being lit up with light that seems like shifting sand blowing across them, or interesting effects with mottled spots and the shadows cast by lights behind trees as it crosses buildings. Alas, pretty light effects do not a film make.
Though the films dvd cover gives the impression that it is a dystopian science-fiction film, there are only a handful of scenes where 1,2,3, Whiteout stops being an experimental film and moves over into the arena of science-fiction. There is an opening scene with Karine Adrover using computer terminals that seems like upturned fishbowls on stands firstly to ask about available jobs and then turning to another terminal to check for dating opportunities which does an effective job in suggesting a future. We also get a scene where Karine Adrover and friends visit Dock Lucina, which turns out to be something akin to a Star Trek holodeck simulation. There is a strange scene where Lou Castel takes Karine Adrover out for some fast food and they are served in what looks like a standard McDonalds-type restaurant but where the cashier stands with their upper body hidden behind an opaque window. Typical of James June Schneiders pretensions is a scene where Karine Adrover and Renaud Martinez appear to be viewing a performance where various artists (some of which are Schneiders real-life co-vamplers) play around with sound machines, including a woman who sings with her head encased in a glass box, and then we are told this is only the warm up to the concert and that tickets are now on sale.
The most annoying thing about 1,2,3, Whiteout: The End of the Light Age however is its complete lack of anything resembling a plot. I watched the film through twice and yet remain completely mystified what the experiment that Lou Castels scientist was conducting was about something to do with recording light patterns from thoughts. Even given that, I was still baffled about what was meant during his constant urging Karine Adrover to travel into the darkness. Furthermore, Lou Castel seems bored and indifferent to his role. His frequently mumbled dialogue has a meandering vagueness as though he were ad libbing most of it but at a loss as to what to say. Mostly the experiment seems to be just a springboard for Schneider to show interesting light patterns and that is the sum of the film.
I wanted to give 1,2,3, Whiteout a chance but in the end it is tedious. It starts with much muddled talk about an experiment but fails to clarify anything, or even offers any resolution or dramatic twist to the experiments. It doesnt even appear to feature any discernible plot. It is hard to work out what James June Schneider thought he was doing in assembling a camera and actors, as I am baffled in trying to work out what he was trying to say or even any point that the film has.