Film Reviews

Review: ‘Eye Camera’

Hot Docs 2017

Hot Docs 2017


Eye, Camera
(USA, 17 min.)
Programme: Singular Sensations

In 2005, artist Tanya Vlach lost her eye in a car accident. Looking towards artistic influences, such as science fiction or superhero narratives, Vlach begins to think of the experience as not a loss, but something to make her stronger. In Brittney Shepherd’s Eye, Camera, we watch as Vlach attempts to develop a wearable camera she could use to replace, and improve upon, the biological eye she lost.

Initially, Eye, Camera is a striking film. With an expressionistic use of colour and visual distortions, we are given a new way of seeing to match Vlach’s own change in sight. Within experimental aesthetics, we are given an accessible, yet unique, narrative. Vlach’s ideas on disability, technology, art, and the body are eloquently stated, provocative, and refreshingly honest. It is a delight to learn more about her ambitions, and her take on her situation, which, though distinct, are enlightening to our broader conceptions of health, and progress.

However, as the film advances, Shepherd moves away from her original aesthetic. The lightly avant-garde feel is replaced by a more conventional documentary style complete with talking heads, footage of conferences Vlach participated in, and stills of her photography. While the subject matter remains intriguing, it is presented in a manner, which is too straightforward. In contrast to the film’s exceptional early visuals, Eye, Camera begins to feel lacking by its end. Though not without its merits, especially due to Vlach and her project, Eye, Camera is not entirely satisfying.

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