Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin [Criterion Collection] [3 Discs] [DVD]

Avant-garde filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin cut his teeth with heavyweights, including Jean-Luc Godard, the Dziga Vertov Group, and (briefly) Louis Malle, before striking out on his own with a series of offbeat, critically-acclaimed documentaries, many of which delve into long-hidden American subcultures. Three of Gorin's best-received nonfiction films appear in this edition of the Criterion Collection's Eclipse series. The package begins with the 1978 Poto and Cabengo, a profile of San Diego twin siblings who have invented their own language. Next up is Gorin's 1986 Routine Pleasures, an essay-style film that intersects reflections on the work of film critic and painter Manny Farber with a look at a group of model train hobbyists based in Del Mar. Finally, Gorin's 1992 My Crasy Life (sic) looks at a Samoan Gang based in Long Beach, California.
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Poto and Cabengo
Director Jean-Pierre Gorin follows up a news story in this interesting documentary on twin girls, ten years old, who speak to each other in their own language. The girls are shown speaking to each other here, and Gorin has sessions with their therapists, their family, and the specialists who work with the twins. This instance of a language created out of whole cloth is certainly unusual if not unique. The twins' grandmother speaks only German, and their mother speaks both English and German, yet it is postulated that since the girls grew up hearing a variety of languages as their parents moved from place to place, they may have inadvertently been stimulated them to create their own language. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Routine Pleasures
My Crasy Life
One would imagine that it would be difficult to win the cooperation of a street gang composed entirely of ethnic Samoans in making a film about their lives, even if it operates in Long Beach, California. This combination documentary/docudrama explores the nature of their lives, from music and mannerisms to characteristic encounters with the police. It turns out that this particular "crips" gang strongly favors rap and displays zero interest in outsiders or their ways. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

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