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A writer/producer is about to make a big career jump and has a lot of activity going on in his life. But, emotionally, he's dead. Through a fantastical event, he meets someone. They fall in love. She wants to defy logic and hop on the passing train of time with him. He lets his mind rationalize and hesitates. She is gone and he finds himself in a desperate race to get her back. Will the magic that brought them together be strong enough to reunite them, or is it too long? Written by
Contributions to works of art in the medium of motion pictures have always been collaborative. Yet, at the helm of a project, navigating all of the many talents is the director, who is attributed with having the vision to carry out and complete such a work. One often wonders if the completed work carries more of the writer's or the director's vision. Or in some cases the leading actor's.
In a situation where the writer, director, actor and co-editor (and producer) are embodied in one person, there is little doubt that the vision belongs to that individual. In rarer situations, such an individual chooses to express his/her original "voice" against the seductive pull of playing it safe or trying to be more commercial.
I discovered "Channels" to be such a rarity.
The voice belongs to writer, director, actor, Nat Christian, who engrosses the viewer with the story of a man who arrives at a crossroads where he must choose between what his logic and his heart are telling him simultaneously. As the writer/director, Christian focuses on the emotional subtext and visuals, and he does so with great artistry.
The talented director of photography, Michael Hardwick, helps carry out the vision with confidence. The romantic production design by Dolores Piazza expertly lends itself to the vision. Duane Condor creatively whips up Special Visual Effects, which are organic to the story. And, very moving, is the powerful score by Rossano Galante, a talent that I feel we'll be hearing about a lot.
The acting talent is outstanding. Kim Oja as the female lead is bewitching, with a natural honesty. In the comedic portions, she has a willingness to play, reminiscent of one of the ballsy actresses (Carole Lombard?) during Hollywood's heyday.
Nat Christian, in the lead role, is spontaneous and powerfully moving. A fascinating actor to watch, he acts with great economy, never hitting an untrue note. His acting choices are unconventional and seem to be derived from the core in the writing.
John Kassir, a gifted performer, is wonderful to watch as a self-serving talent agent.
Taylor Negron resists going for the easy laughs and is very touching.
Joan Van Ark allows her vulnerability to seep through as a tough TV executive (and she looks great).
Ed Asner, a true artist, convincingly walks the fine line of being a tough guy and humorous at the same time.
Some of the supporting roles: Chloe Hunter is perfect as a an actress who plays small roles. Gil Glaskow is honest and appealing. Richard Partlow plays it convincingly tough and believable as a television network executive. Ellyn Lindsay and Herman Poppe are very funny as a late night comedy soap opera couple.
I think of other movies such as Wings of Desire (Wim Wnders), The Conversation Francis Ford Coppola), Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger) and many others where the one strong common denominator is that an artist's voice is expressed. Channels allowed me an experience, which I thought of long after the movie was over.
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