José Arroyo and Carlo Anghel-Haltrich on Lost Book Found (Jem Cohen, 1996)

A short, amiable discussion about Jem Cohen’s poetic short documentary Lost Book Found. A rather rare avant-garde treasure (luckily it was picked up by the Museum of Modern Art), the film focuses on early 90s New York City as a space of perpetual transformation and renewal under the steady pressure of late capitalism. Atypically, the image of the city that is emphasized through its hypnotic extended montages is that of the obscure and the undesirable: lost trinkets, discarded notes, torn posters, written messages, advertising, and overproduced goods littering the streets and the discount shops. The film exudes an affinity for the cryptic, the unresolved, and the overlooked.

“Its beauty is quite ineffable. It’s the sort of visual experience that transforms everything seen by the viewer for several hours afterward. . . What it actually does is capture the subconscious of the city itself, the dream state of the whole past existing in simultaneous disarray.”

Luc Sante, Low Life and Evidence

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