‘Window On Your Present’ a cinephile’s dream
Window On Your Present is the new film from writer/director Cinqué Lee. By new I must clarify newly released on DVD by BrinkDVD, as the actual film itself was the first from Lee which he shot in 1988.
The fantasy film follows Europa, played by Maria Pineres, as she makes her way through a crumbling world stripped of color; imagine Snake Pliskin’s New York in black and white. In this world both color and love are things of the past. In this lackluster world with nothing to live for, people often resort to suicide.
This is an interesting and different take on a post-apocalyptic universe than we typically see in modern cinema. Two lovers meet and discover something special exists beyond the treacherous world they know.
The cinematography from DP Leslie Mentel helps set the picture of a world that manages to be dreary and run down while still maintaining an interestingly beautiful look. This is key as Window On Your Present contains no dialogue between the characters, instead relying on the imagery combined with narration from Europa set to a score from acclaimed jazz bassist Bill Lee, who also happens to be Cinqué Lee’s father, to move the story along. This makes Window On Your Present feel less like a movie and more like a visual poem.
This isn’t a film for everyone, but cinephiles and art house theatre lovers will be drawn to it. It has a quick run time of just over an hour; an important thing to consider in this day and age for a film that is twenty plus years old, shot with techniques of yesteryear, but getting it’s first release now.
Lee has crafted a wonderfully enjoyable little film that relies on skill and technique rather than special effects and loud noises to keep the audience engaged. It’s rare and quite refreshing to see this from a modern American film.
Jim Jarmusch, the director behind such films as Down By Law and Coffee and Cigarettes, hailed Window On Your Present as a “true underground classic.” Jarmusch may have been onto something as the film is unique and certainly deserves to be seen. Kudos to both Cinqué Lee and BrinkDVD for making that possible.