Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:21 pm 
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MAE WHITMAN AND MARTIN STARR IN OPERATOR

Transcending cyber-dependency through Chicago improv

With a debt to Chicago improv, Logan Kibens' touching little film deals with much the same material as Spike Jonze's Her: A guy starts to care more about a commercial computerized version of a woman than his wife, whose voice has been adapted by him and a team he leads as the cyber-operated "operator" of a health insurance program. Jonze's version is more high-concept, futuristic, and above all more designed in its stylized "look" (though the makers of Operator, somewhat naively, pride themselves on their movie's highly tailored imagery and color schemes too). But while Her just pissed me off, Operator touched me. It's a relationship movie of the old fashioned kind, but it focuses on how estranged - "alone together" - people, younger ones especially, have gotten from each other because of their dependence on computerized handheld devices, but it offers the possibility that we're still human beings with human needs and can recover from our dependency, because we have to. Let's hope that's true!

Operator, 87 mins, debuted at SXSW Mar. 2016, showing also at San Francisco (SFIFF) in May, where it was screened for this review. This is a preview and a fuller discussion will come at time of its putative theatrical release.

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