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SUGAR HIGH


If you’re strolling through New York’s Chelsea neighborhood this weekend, you can stop for a bit and check out one of the more interesting films from last year’s Sundance Film Festival — in a gallery, not a theater. Running through January 7 at Roebling Hall in Chelsea is Sugar, a film installation by Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley with Samara Golden. When the feature version of this work played in Sundance’s Frontier section, I remember appreciating its visual-art feel, and now, for their gallery show, the artists have expanded on Sugar by creating “two life-size hyper-real sculptures” to accompany the film loop.

Here’s what I wrote about Sugar here earlier in the year:

“A single room — in this case, a particularly disgusting and fetid one — is the sole locale for Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley’s Sugar, which plays like a Cinema of Transgression remake of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion. There’s virtually no dialogue to this tale of a single woman who rents a decaying street-level apartment, finds a body in a crawlspace and gradually loses her mind. Jumping back and forth from color to scratchy black and white, its camera slowly tracking over piles of trash, peeling wallpaper, dirty dishes and undefinable stains over a soundtrack drone by J.G. Thirwell, it’s almost as much a filmed gallery installation as a feature narrative. (In addition to making several short films, the directors have exhibited visual art pieces around the world.) But while the relentless Sugar can be hard to sit through at times, it makes a virtue of its theatricality and contains genuinely terrifying sequences — I was on the edge of my seat during one disturbing interlude in which our heroine of sorts becomes slowly trapped by a puddle of seeping water and a thrashing electric fan. Recommended.”

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