DOXA 2019 review: A Bright Light: Karen and the Process

(Switzerland)

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      If you didn’t know anything about ’60s Greenwich Village almost-was Karen Dalton before watching A Bright Light, you won’t know much afterwards, either.

      Forsaking the prosaically biographical approach of actually telling the viewer anything about her nominal subject, director Emmanuelle Antille takes a more impressionistic tack—which for some reason means including many scenes of herself and her crew bouncing on motel-room beds in feathered masks, painting watercolour portraits of Dalton, and making little houses out of cardboard boxes.

      A bit less time spent on arts and crafts and a lot more focus on Dalton’s mesmerizing music and tragic life trajectory might have saved this sporadically diverting but frustratingly narcissistic exercise.

      This is, after all, the woman Bob Dylan once earnestly called “my favourite singer”, and she deserves better than this.

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