Independent. Avant-Garde. Cult. Underground. Sticks and stones.

The 70s Dimension.

Other Cinema DVD
Reviewed by Mike, someone born in 1970

We (people in our 30s) have had to endure our parents reminiscing about Woodstock and Ford Thunderbirds and the first television set and long hair meaning to your ears. Well, now is our chance to partake in the same semi-pathetic nostalgia.

What The 70s Really Looked Like, a collection of 1970s commercials and public service announcements, gives some insight into the decade of decadence which gave us sexy cigarettes, incredible technology, new exercise routines and crying Native Americans portrayed by Italian actors that people throw garbage out their car windows at. (Did I just describe the 70s or every decade in the 20th century?)

I wonder – are we doomed to always look back and laugh? I take equal pleasure and embarrassment in this footage. The crackling 16mm film grain is beautiful, the glimpse of long lost celebs punching some strange cleaning item impeccably designed, hair styles I thought looked good then and maybe still do… It's a trap I’m not fair in assessing. As much as I get sick of people sitting around and talking about how great something was instead of being creative or going outside and having new experiences, there is a fascination with one’s own past. If I heard a song when I was five years old in the back seat of my parents’ Gold Duster as I had to pee in a bottle because we couldn’t find a rest stop, it will have a youthful resonance and I say “awww” even though Chicago is a horrible, horrible band. And though I know Godzilla vs. Megalon isn’t even the 10th best movie in the series, watching it is like seeing into the nexus of the universe. Images scar youth.

The spots, curated by dumpster divers Matt McCormick and Morgan Currie, is split up into sections, which makes it a nice disc to keep returning to for entertainment and for glorious trivia games with friends. The PSAs alone are jaw-dropping. And at the end of the day, this is all better than what the 80s gave us.

Filling out the disc is 70s Remix, curated by Craig Baldwin and Noel Lawrence, consisting of six short films made up primarily from found footage (from the 70s or at least from industrial and educational vids) with a new avant video twist. Fixed in heavily structured editing and sound design, the shorts succeed in reinterpreting the original content for new plots while also giving insight into original meaning. They thankfully stray from being ironic, with soundtracks forcing hilarious moments and editing providing some unsettling feelings. Its almost too on-the-nose to have these all together, but it is a sub-genre of underground filmmaking – and these films are goddam good.

DVD includes the shorts:
"The Vyrotonin Decision" by Matt McCormick
"Thine Inward-Looking Eyes" by Thad Povey
"Not Too Much Remember" by Tony Gault
"Toast 'ems" by Damon Packard
"We Edit Life" by People Like Us
"Mark Roth" by Animal Charm /