4 Stars
Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 4 minutes
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“Remember, men,” many coaches will say, trying to inspire their teams when facing far superior opponents. “They put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.” It’s a fair bet none of these Knute Rockne wannabes have seen the way Christopher Tenzis puts on his pants in his inspired experimental short, “A Man and His Pants.” Once upon a time, anyone could close their eyes and imagine the dully repetitious sounds of a needle stuck on a vinyl LP record. That repetitive clicking and popping noise has largely disappeared today, replaced by the rapid-pulsed, vaguely electronic staccato stuttering of a stuck CD. Tenzis has taken these modern day audiovisual cues and applied them here to that most basic of activities; getting dressed. There he stands, pulling on his pants, only to lose his balance and crash to the floor in a slapstick tumble of knocked over books and knick-knacks. Six times, Tenzis repeats this single event in its entirety. Then he begins playing with it; sampling sequences and skipping frames, running the action forwards and backwards, repeating and omitting bits of the scene. Slowly at first, then faster and faster, the action builds in momentum, becoming more and more obtuse and abstract until what was once a simple shot of a man pulling on a pair of pants has become completely deconstructed; a surreal audiovisual drum solo. I went into a sound mix for a student film many years ago and, perhaps anticipating my future FT smart-ass attitude, told the humorless mixer to make the mix “obtuse yet sublime.” A meaningless directive, of course. But if ever there was an actual film that fit that description, the mind-boggling, perhaps mind-altering “A Man and His Pants” would be it.

Posted on April 27, 2000 in Reviews by

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