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Ben Russell’s early short pushes silent film narration into uncharted territory. Two women in Victorian dress land in a new country by sea and wander its emptied industrial landscape. They call each other sister and learn to make money. One is diagnosed with scurvy by a monomaniacal butcher. Her hermetic tragedy is further subsumed by portraits of men dressed as animals and asynchronous scenes of violence. The result is a historical pageant that’s at once discursive and surreal. Etched in grainy 16mm, Russell’s spare long takes have the uncanny aura of early photographs.

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