Part ontological inquiry, part ode to urban drifting, Shutterbug takes a man’s late-night descent into a post-industrial hell (i.e., South Williamsburg) as an opportunity to reflect on the age-old question of perception vs. reality. Referencing both Blowup and After Hours, Minos Papas’s film follows professional photographer Alex Santiago (Nando Del Castillo) on his nocturnal bridge crossing, after which he hopes to answer the question of whether the woman that keeps popping up in his line of vision is real or simply a mirage brought on by his failing eyesight. Along the way, he meets a gallery of alternatively menacing and helpful denizens of the night, nearly all of whom—somewhat tiresomely—wax philosophical on the difference between experience and truth. Papas leans too heavily on expected street types (a black pimp, multi-ethnic skate punks) to populate his underworld, but he compensates with expressionistic HD photography and eerie electronic doodling to sustain an impossible mood of productive unease. Bleeding the color from a Chinatown street scene so that only the neon signs and shop interiors register or flaring the overhead lights on the Williamsburg Bridge to create a pulsing green alien landscape, Papas makes our familiar city seem just as invitingly sinister as you once imagined it to be.
- by ANDREW SCHENKER
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