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[This Just In]

FILM
Head shots

BY CHRIS WRIGHT

The advent of high-tech cinematography has left the once-vaunted bird’s-eye view seeming a little frayed around the edges these days. Even worm’s-eye views fail to get the average moviegoer going. Financier’s-eye views, landlord’s-eye views, and attorney’s-eye views, however, are still very much a novelty.

For the past year, filmmaker Liz Canner and muralist John Ewing have been working on a new kind of cinematic vision. Their recently completed project, Symphony of a City, features a remarkably diverse group of local figures — including a 16-year-old political candidate, a 92-year-old musician, a homeless man, and a millionaire philanthropist — all of whom agreed to spend a day with cameras and microphones attached to their heads, recording their every move. “There are some wild, incredibly unusual shots,” says Canner. “You don’t see the subjects, you see how they see the world. You feel like you are them.”

Anyone curious to know what it feels like — or at least looks like — to be a political bigwig will find Symphony of a City especially interesting. Democratic fundraiser Alan Solomont wore his camera to a power lunch with a Senate buddy; Boston city councilor Chuck Turner wore his to a council meeting. Which was, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit weird. Indeed, the spectacle of a city councilor entering the chamber looking like something out of The Matrix raised a few bushy eyebrows, but Turner insists he wasn’t bothered.

“Most people were positive about it,” he says. “Some smiled, some looked curious, others tried to ignore it.” He adds, “I thought the concept was interesting. What it says is, our lives are more interesting than we give them credit for.” Actually, there was a distinct possibility that things might get a little too interesting. At first, Canner says, she and Ewing had envisioned the cameras being kept on nonstop, all day. This idea had to be nixed, though, when the issue of toilet time came up. “We couldn’t be that invasive,” she says. “Some things are too sensitive.” Even the intrepid Chuck Turner balked at wearing a Tinkle-cam.

“That,” he says, “would have been a little awkward.”

An all-day, real-time screening of Symphony of a City will be broadcast April 27 and May 4 on www.symphonyofacity.org. On the same days, from dusk until midnight, a montage of the films will be projected onto the side of Boston City Hall. Visit the Web site for details.

Issue Date: April 26 - May 3, 2001