3X3D Has a Difficult Time Grasping 3D [VIFF 2013]

3X3D Poster

3X3D Poster

Title3X3D
Genre(s)Comedy, Drama
Director(s)Peter Greenaway, Edgar Pera, Jean-Luc Godard
Release Year: 2013

It was clear from the moment I stepped in line to see the omnibus feature, 3X3D, that most people were intrigued solely because one of the shorts was directed by Jean-Luc Godard. As someone who is generally displeased with Godard’s work (appreciative, but rarely entertained), with the exception of Une Femme est une Femme, my excitement for this compilation film was more for what each director would do with 3D technology, and how they would tie into each other. With all that being said, 3X3D is mostly interesting, but with the exception of Godard’s visual essay, “The Three Disasters”, there is a displeasing use of 3D, and a terrible short in the form of “Cinesapiens.”

The overarching theme between each of the three shorts seems to be that of history. Peter Greenaway’s short, “Just in Time”, is a look at the history of Guimaraes, Portugal and the famous figures who have joined the culture. It is a beautifully shot film, but contains a lot of text that is imposed upon the setting and becomes hard to read, especially when it appears on floors or ceilings. The short is seemingly one single roaming shot that lasts for about 20 minutes and is a very informative history lesson, but one that is sometimes hard to follow. It ends up feeling like a guided tour through the palace that it is shot in, and in that sense it is a very interesting effort.

Meanwhile, the second short of 3X3D, Edgar Pera’s “Cinesapiens”, is a history of film and a very satirical look at changes in film technologies. It is a very jarring segment to place in the middle of everything, especially being the only segment that contains much comedy. Most jokes are poor though, and the look at film’s evolution is fairly superficial. It may also be the longest of the shorts, but that’s not something I can either confirm or deny, but it did feel like the longest. It also happens to utilize 3D in one of the more abhorrent fashions, with a lot of the final several minutes becoming a blur of dimensions.

The third and final short of 3X3D is the Godard one, entitled “The Three Disasters”. It is also a look at film, ranging from the early days of cinema to modern films like the Fright Night remake, and Piranha 3D. In typical Godard fashion, all of the usual suspects are present from jump-cutting to disconnected audio clips. It is nowhere near as jarring as his uses of those elements typically are, however, leading it to be the best of the three shorts. However, it is another dissatisfying use of 3D, yet not completely terrible. There are many moments when the 3D works, but the short really stands out as a well done essay on the evolution and current state of film.

All three directors clearly demonstrate a keenness towards the 3D technology, but only Greenaway’s feels like a good use of the form. Godard is more interested in spreading his opinion, and Pera takes 3D to absurd lengths, making his short basically unintelligible. I would love to see what Greenaway does if he ever engages with 3D again, but I still don’t expect anything more than some nice eye candy. Godard’s short did wind up as the high-point of 3X3D, but neither film was astonishing through and through. Still, it was an interesting attempt to bring together these three different directors to see what they can do with the art-form. 

Screening courtesy of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

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