[box cover]

The Work of Director Chris Cunningham

The work of celebrated video director Chris Cunningham is showcased on another of Palm Pictures' fine "Director's Label" discs and, while not as extensive as their releases focusing on Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, it's a fascinating exploration of the filmmaker's art. Having started out in the industry as a robot expert working for Stanley Kubrick (seriously), Cunningham's odd, post-human sensibility shines in his videos for Björk, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and even Madonna. The floating boy in Portishead's "Only You," the scary anime-looking girl in Squarepusher's "Come On My Selector," and the exploding refugee in Leftfield's "Afrika Shox" display a refreshing lack of reverence for youth, and Cunningham's two freaky, near-inexplicable videos for Aphex Twin (featuring strange, grinning heads morphed onto children, midgets, and swimsuit models) are watchable just because they're so disturbing. But the best of lot is Björk's "All is Full of Love," in which Cunningham's knowledge of robotics comes into play along with cunning makeup and CGI to create a beautiful assembly line of singing Björkbots. Other works on the disc include the short film "Monkey Drummer" about, well, a monkey drummer, as well as some very cool commercials for Nissan, Levis, and Sony Playstation. It's a much slimmer offering than Palm's previous collections, but one that's still full of amazing, unforgettable imagery. Video quality varies on the pieces depending on format and age — some are very sharp with rich, saturated color, others not so much — but the transfers are all very clean. Some videos are full-screen, some anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1); all of the original aspect ratios have been retained. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio does a good job of presenting the music, which sometimes is aggressively loud with booming percussion. Also included is a 52-page booklet with interview-style information on the videos and some images that should be avoided by the easily offended. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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