Spectres of the Spectrum
1999, NR, 107 min. Directed by Craig Baldwin. Starring Sean Kilcoyne, Caroline Koebel, Beth Lisick.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., July 12, 2001
This sci-fi quasi-drama from “media archaeologist” Baldwin is set in a near-future where Big Brother and Big Business control your TV – and radio and phone and computer – and only a ragtag band of waveband pirates, the New Electromagnetic Order, stand between them and total domination of our brainwaves. The hazy plot has cigar-chomping guerrilla transmitter Yogi and his telepathic daughter Boo Boo seeking the secret that will free the spectrum for all humankind. The film is a conspiracy theorist’s history of electronic media, presented via video clips ranging from Fifties TV to Nineties cable newscasts. It plays like some lost Lone Gunmen episode of The X-Files scripted by Firesign Theatre – quirky, quip-filled, and heavy on the suspicion. But what really distinguishes it is Baldwin’s dazzling command of video artifacts, artfully chosen and masterfully edited into a continually compelling collage. If anyone’s in control of the image, it’s Baldwin.