Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tell Me Why: The Epistemology Of Disco (1991) movie review

Tell Me Why: The Epistemology Of Disco (1991)

The Metrograph in NYC was running a series:

Dim All The Lights: Disco And The Movies

which unfortunately ended. I did get to catch a few though, and this was one of them. 

This film is a short that was shown before Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell which I also reviewed here :

 
As this first started I could see that this was something that was very crude in design, probably from a VHS master.  I do not mean that as an insult, I have a fondness for VHS and other formats that have sort of drifted away, and if you watch enough of them you can recognize quality differences which lend themselves to certain eras or types of work.  I personally have done some VHS work in the past, so I am familiar with the benefits and limitations of the format.

It starts off with some text and images, mostly regarding 501 jeans, gay culture, and disco music.  It is done in a very wry way, commenting on and making up info as it goes, both satirically and historically.  I was not really enjoying the narrator or the path of the video, it was a bit too out of my taste, but I can recognize where the director was coming from.  Near the end the theme changed a bit to get more serious regarding the AIDS crisis and lives lost, and I could connect much more with this part of the short.  At 24 minutes it ran a bit long for my tastes, but again, it did have an appeal in some aspects.  There were clips of NYC, the movie Cruising, gay discos, jeans, etc etc.  All in all I was left feeling like there was something there, but it was not fully realized.  

6 out of 10 stars.
 
Location : The Metrograph, theater 1, NYC
Date and time : Wednesday August 10th, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Format : VHS to DCP
Audience : at least 60 people
 
You can watch the whole thing here if you want :