INDIE FILM REVIEW:  The Anna Cabrini Chronicles


Film is art. Despite the bastardization of the original form for capital profit, in the end, a true filmmaker’s one desire is the bring forth their creative vision to the world and to tell a story that is both visually inspiring and emotionally moving. As with any particular art form, when utilized in a truly unique, undiluted and un-homogenized way, the end result can leave the viewer of the final piece in a state of true contemplation, the sensation that something special has entered their life and that they have been privy to a secret truth reserved for the aware settling over them like the setting autumn sun.

In this day and age everything around us seems produced for the short-attention-span-theater, stripped of any deeper resounding meaning for fear of it being lost upon the uninterested minds of the sedated masses. Truly artistic film endeavors have become rare treasures for artists, such as myself, to happen upon. It has always been a constant struggle for some filmmakers to take back their art form from the likes of Hollywood and save it from the inherent dilution that comes with mass-marketed mainstream promotion. Because of this struggle it is often hard to find a true gem when everyone with a digital recorder seems to think that they possess the ability to weave a visual tale digestible for the higher intellect. However, when one does happen upon a truly innovative film, this rarity makes the instance even more special and profound for the viewer.

I have a special appreciation for films that breach the normal standards of filmmaking to interweave other art forms such as illustration, animation and poetry in order to truly create a new world for the viewer. All too often I find myself bearing witness to the same over-produced regurgitated mainstream “storytelling” designed with the sole purpose of sating the mass public’s insatiable craving for mindless entertainment so much so that one movie begins to blend seamlessly into the other. THE ANNA CABRINI CHRONICLES by Twad b. Dorenfield and POLYMORPHproductions have broken away from this looming temptation to be assimilated into the Hollywood machine and have embraced just such an artistic collage of media formats.

Through a combination of traditional hand-drawn animation, documentary-stylized live action and poetic voice-overs, the story of Anna Cabrini’s efforts to chronicle the lives of a variety of clinically depressed, suicidal and insane individuals comes to life on the screen with an eerie beauty that is both slightly disturbing and absolutely fascinating to watch. The film moves with a certain operatic, yet strangely Kubrick-esque quality that draws the viewer into each uniquely bizarre and sad world of these tortured souls as they relate their life stories to Cabrini via tape-recorded dialogues.

Dorenfield has perfectly balanced the intensity of the story with the higher level artistic presentation of the film itself with a resounding deftness that speaks to the production team’s innate passion for their creation. I predict that THE ANNA CABRINI CHRONICLES are certain to become a new cult film phenomenon.

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