Directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko, Harmony Korine & Jan Kwiecinski, the film made the festival rounds in early 2012 and was released via Vice’s YouTube Channel earlier today for streaming.
A portmanteau piece from three directors from different countries. Each short takes notes from a manifesto of sorts created by Harmony Korine and the films producer; Vice’s Eddy Moretti. The three segments are distinguished only by quotes from the manifesto itself that basically say you have to forget everything you know about making a film and start from scratch making a film that challenges the idea of the fourth dimension.
The first piece – The Lotus Community Center – stars Val Kilmer as a warped version of himself and is directed by cult indie filmmaker Harmony Korine (who’s wife Rachel also stars). The film is lit like liquid and is clearly a pre-cursor to Korine’s next film Spring Breakers, although I’ve not seen it, as many quotes from the film have formed into how he approached the filming of that. The short piece switches back and forth between Val riding through the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Rachel and a motivational speech he is giving at the titular community center. There are also scenes in a video store (which was pretty pointless), telling a story to two shirtless old men and the married couple playing Kill Freak 2 for the Xbox. Definitely a culmination of Korine’s foray into commercial cinema and it looks like he’s finally achieved the look he’s been striving for for years with television commercials for the likes of Thorntons and Budweiser.
The second piece – Chroneye – is directed by the Russian Aleksei Fedorchenko and while it is in a completely different language and aspect ratio from the first piece, they flow together very well. It touches on many similar themes as the first place – mostly focusing on reaching a higher place in your life aswell as trying to reach other planets and beings on those planets. The cinematography is often static and scarce of cuts – a Russian trademark ever since the days of Tarkovsky. There is also a much more vibrant soundtrack that sucks you into it’s surroundings and characters. While there are also songs in the first piece, they aren’t as striking or oftenly placed as they are here. The lead role of Grigory the time-travel-experimenting pervert is played very well, by Igor Sergeev. Without fear but with much trepidation; much like Kilmer’s in the first part.
The third and final piece – Fawns – is directed by the Polish Jan Kwiecinski and tells the story of four teens, three guys and a girl. These characters are all by themselves in a barren landscape which gives you the feeling that they live in their own fourth dimension, away from everyone else on the planet – but it’s not the case as we see planes flying overhead and the sounds of klaxon and sirens blaring sporadically. The water levels are rising and everyone is being evacuated as we are told over radio and television signals. Most of the kids really don’t care to begin with but as the film draws to a close however each of the characters slowly begin to accept their fate while still trying to live out the last days of their ever-so-fragile lives to the fullest. This final part to this film is undeniably the most loyal to manifesto on which the films were created and it shows deeply. Another thing I find interesting is that Kwiecinski clearly saw Korine’s recent short film Snowballs; as the female character in this wears almost identical headgear to the girls in that short film by Korine.
The Fourth Dimension is a clear reminder that portmeanteau films can and do work when the essential themes at the heart are abided by. It’s rare in this day and age that you get a film like this so you really have to embrace it, take it at face value and appreciate the sporadic-ness of each story – all three of which are shot beautifully and play out just the opposite of what you expect them to.