Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 2 minutes
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Just as Jimi Hendrix’ screeching Woodstock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” became a counter culture icon for the flower power generation, this powerful visual interpretation by Jangho Choi seeks to make a (much more limited) statement of its own. Set to an electronic treatment of our national anthem that sounds like a cross between a bad video game and a stuck CD, “The Bum Spangled Banner” rapidly and incessantly strobes three different types of images: 1) an extreme close-up of a man’s mouth presumably saying the words to the song, 2) vague red, white and blue impressions of the Flag, and 3) most importantly, numerous shots of various homeless people. It’s an unnerving effect; the film’s overlapping, rapid fire images searing themselves into your brain. “Bum Spangled Banner” packs quite a wallop in its two minutes; an effective reminder of a problem that’s easily overlooked in these good times. Just by keeping that problem in the public eye in such an in-your-face manner, Jangho Choi’s scathing indictment, while not quite on a par with Hendrix’ enduring chops, must already be considered a success.
Posted on February 19, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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