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The Independent Critic

Hassan Said
Nicole Calhoun, Nicholette DeLon Ernst, Fernando Garcia, Tony McNitt, Tim O'Hara, Kacie Velie
27 Mins.

 "It's a Strange World" Review 
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It's a Strange World director Hassan Said has already proven himself to be an extraordinarily visionary director with a fondness for imagery and chaos over strict plot and order.

It's a Strange World is truly experimental in nature, perhaps the only recent film being called to mind would be Barbara Klutinis's wonderful and deeply moving Severing the Soul, a heartbreaking journey through Joseph Kennedy's decision to have his developmentally challenged daughter, Rosemary, lobotomized.

There is no story contained within It's a Strange World, yet it nearly impossible to view the film without thinking, feeling and experiencing something quite deep. A 27-minute surrealist experience, It's a Strange World is a visual, auditory and full-on sensory experience of one woman named Eve and her hallucinatory perceptions of life after she drinks out of a flower. The film is divided into four sections - The Dream, The Circus, The Bunny and The Awakening. Each section is completely and utterly mesmerizing, with images that enchant, mesmerize, hypnotize and haunt. As Eve journeys through her past, present and future, she ultimately transcends all that is logical, concrete and defined.

In 27 minutes. Seriously.

Lautaro D'Amato's camera work is nothing short of astounding, a kaleidoscope of very ordinary woven into the fabric of the extraordinary. The film's spurts of color are at times jarring, the shading sublime, the occasionally cloudy black-and-white proves to be almost a sedative. The imagery is pristine, even when the images themselves aren't quite clear. It's almost unnerving when Said tosses in images and sounds that seem too normal when surrounded by everything else that is going on, but it's abundantly clear that virtually every frame, sound, image and whisper is thought out and intentional.

Jason Roberts expertly edits the film, while Mohamed Ali's visual effects are a marvel of simplicity and wonder. Filmed on location in San Francisco, It's a Strange World looks and feels as if it transcends this world. D'Amato also has composed the film's ethereal theme music, which perfectly complements this abstract and surrealistic achievement.

Said has cast the film with non-actors, and while they are called upon to do very little in the way of actual speaking, their performances are remarkable in the ways in which they physically bring this story to life through body language, facial expression and their reactions to their external influences.

Destined to be wildly popular on the indie and underground film fest circuit, Hassan Said's It's a Strange World is easily one of the best shorts I've seen yet this year and an unforgettable experience for the open-minded cineaste who is able to surrender and surrender again to the cinematic experience.