A production of VICE and Grolsch Film Works, The Fourth Dimension is a compilation of three different short films (thirty minutes each) directed by Harmony Korine, Alexey Fedorchenko and newcomer Jan Kwiecinski, respectively. VICE’s Eddy Moretti, who really wanted to work with Korine, developed a ‘creative brief’ and began emailing him back and fourth with ideas. Grolsch Film Works held an international contest, and Fedorchenko and Kwiecinski were chosen. No director knew what the other director was doing, which makes it quite interesting for everyone, including us, the audience.
Korine’s short starts out with a pony-tailed Val Kilmer playing a hilarious, New Age-y self-motivational speaker in the segment “The Lotus Community Workshop.” Kilmer rides around town on his tiny white BMX, with his corn-rowed gal pal Rachel (Rachel Korine) pedaling right alongside him. Did I mention that his character is also named ‘Val Kilmer?’ He delivers his sermons of sorts at an arcade-slash-roller rink to a throng of locals who really need his help, and bad. These scenes, with Kilmer inciting the crowd to chant “Awe-some, Sec-rets!” and more, are some of the most entertaining moments, truly, of the entire film. As usual, Korine has the breathtaking ability to take the audience straight past their comfort zone, and into an America that is, really, never shown onscreen. (Or at least, never quite accurately.) His hard-luck cases are not Oscar winning actors hamming it up, or the owners of meth labs (well, at least I hope not!) or any of the other two hundred and three thousand stereotypes we have all seen before on film. His people are real. They are the ones who maybe can’t get with the program or maybe, never even knew there was one, never learning that they too are allowed a place at the table. There is a great humanity at work here, and Kilmer, with his strange sweetness and zany lovability, is the perfect complement to this humanity. It’s as if, in works like this one, and past films like Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, Korine seems to have been put here to remind the ones lucky enough to have choices and privileges and aspirations that they (we?) even in this great country, are still, unfortunately, very much the minority.
Alexey Fedorchenko, who wowed the Venice Film Festival in 2010 with Silent Souls, offers the most formal and literal take on the fourth dimension in “Chronoeye,” and it’s Russian and heart-breaking and lovely all at once. A scientist lives in a concrete slab of a building, toying with his invention that only allows to go back in time to the same moments, over and over again, and always from the same point of view. A witty, melancholic commentary on memory, love and loss, Darya Ekasmova is also wonderful here, playing the game upstairs neighbor to a grieving, obsessed ‘time-traveler.’
Jan Kwiecinski’s segment, “Fawns,” is the weakest work of the three, although still quite beautiful to watch, although the visuals seem a bit derivative of current, punkish underground fashion editorials. Four kids in their early twenties wander empty neighborhood streets, recently evacuated, waiting for the end of the world to approach in the guise of an impending flood. The performances are all pretty decent, but there seems to be little at work in terms of genuine depth.
All in all, even for Korine’s segment especially, The Fourth Dimension is one of the greatest surprises at this year’s 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. Find listings and show times here.