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The Cosmic Eye
Color. 1985. Animated; voices of Sam Hubley, Dizzy Gillespie, Linda Atkinson; dir. Faith Hubley. 71 min. Beta, VHs. $49.95. Disney.
This bizarre cartoon is about as far from Mickey Mouse as you can get: an impressionist's vision of the flaws and virtues of the world. Seen m surreal ever-changing images, the "story" is really a series of vignettes, some based on legends, others on dreams, that seem like animated Indian cave paintings. These can be clear-cut (how man's early brotherhood turned into rivalry and nationalism) or obscure (a tale of a footrace between the sun and the moon). The music is a mixture of jazz, American Indian, and Oriental-while Dizzy Gillespie, of all people, provides one of the voices.
This British program, part of the "Secret Lives of the Prime Ministers" series, offers all the titillation of a peep show and about as much satisfaction. "He walked the corridors of power by day," cries out the tape's package, which exhibits a busty woman standing in a dimly lit alley, "and stalked the streets of London by night." The opening scenes certainly look like a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Gladstone" sort of story, with the righteous 1880s prime minister inviting whores to his home. But it is soon obvious that Cladstone is guilty only of naivete, He has brought them in to convert them to Godliness. The rest of the tale becomes an examination of politics (how to avoid a scandal) and Gladstone's inner turmoil. The whole thing seems terribly irrelevant.
Victims Fight Back
Color. 1985. Narrated by Lawrence Pressman; dir. Michael Scott. 60 min. Beta, VHS. $39.95. Active.
This tape, attempting to cash in on Bernhard Goetz's notoriety, looks like it should be a laugh riot. The package shows a hand holding a smoking pistol aimed at the viewer as four-inch type screams out:
GETTING EVEN ... VICTIMS FIGHT BACK (with "Actual Footage: Vigilante Justice" writ smaller). It turns out to be a reasonably sensitive documentary on how victims cope with debilitating crimes through self-help centers and programs. The most moving tale is of a five-year-old child whose mother was shotgunned to death before her eyes, while the most exploitative is the footage of a suspected rapist being shot in the head by the victim's father. Between these two extremes are stories of murder, robbery, and incest that are all, to varying degres, touching and disturbing if unsatisfying since the whys are never adequately explored. The tape, originally produced for HBO, is of good quality.
VIDEO, February 1986