Locarno Film Review: ‘Dragonfly Eyes’

Internationally acclaimed print-maker and installation artist Xu Bing has come to cinema relatively late in life, which is all the more reason why his feature debut “Dragonfly Eyes” disappoints with its unsatisfying combination of an ultra-banal narrative told in a formally original way. The concept is bold: Xu and his assistants culled through approximately 10,000 hours of surveillance videos sitting in the cloud and edited bits together to make a cohesive story voiced by actors. Putting aside how daunting it must have been to process so much staggeringly dull footage, the conceit could have been interesting, potentially offering opportunities to comment on everything from the lack of privacy in the modern world to the level of violence around us.

While Xu includes a fair amount of disturbing video clips of car accidents, suicides and general disasters, the story he chooses to extricate from all those hours (blessedly cut down to less than 90 minutes) is little more than a
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