This half-documentary, half-narrative is constructed entirely from closed-circuit cameras—dash cams, security footage, red-light cameras, etc.—uploaded to a cloud service in 2013 and made available for anyone with time on their hands.

But director Xu Bing doesn’t simply rely on observation; he favors imagination, using the footage as a jumping-off point to construct narratives between the individuals seen on screen. The results are as engaging as they are horrifying, partly because of how much of our lives are being captured and collected and partly because of the ease with which false narratives can be constructed and made believable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Dragonfly Eyes / 蜻蜓之眼 (2017)
Directed by Xu Bing
Written by Yongming Zhai, Hanyi Zhang
Xu Bing Studio, Not rated, Running time 81 minutes, Premiered Aug. 10, 2017 at the Locarno Film Festival

The above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 25, No. 13, “The cinema awaits.”