A film by Isiah Medina
2015, 65 minutes
No. 074

Referencing the digital display of electric appliances after the power’s been repeatedly cut off, Isiah Medina’s audacious experimental work – one of the most acclaimed in recent years – is a personal meditation on family, friendship and the experience of living in poverty.

Taking inspiration from the French theorist and political activist Alain Badiou, specifically the four conditions that make up the essence of philosophy–art, politics, science, and love–Medina uses his first feature-length work to document the life of his friends living in a low-income neighborhood in Winnipeg, mixing avant-garde techniques with candid moments of raw emotional force. Scenes of a couple lounging in their bedroom and friends skateboarding on Portage Avenue are carried along by a hazy soundscape composed of intimate monologues about family struggle, existential conversations, and passages read aloud from Badiou’s texts.

Silence also plays a considerable role here — with gaps in audio reminiscent of streaming video being choked by slow Internet speed. 88:88 strips image and sound of their representational power, allowing the viewer to reflect on the very essence of both cinema and life.

Official Selection, New York Film Festival
Official Selection, Toronto Film Festival
Official Selection, Locarno Film Festival

"I could say that 88:88 is a masterpiece, but masterpieces are the domain of the past; Medina has taken his first step into the future." - Cinema Scope

"A bold debut feature that audaciously rethinks the possibilities and language of cinematic form. A powerful and original new voice has been discovered." - Sight & Sound

"A stunningly photographed, radically edited work that merits comparison to late Godard… that is, if Godard was raised on hip-hop and without money." - Mark Peranson, Pardo Live (Locarno Film Festival)

"On its own aesthetic and formal merit, 88:88 would be a worthy choice for the top spot of any year-end list of similar ordinance.... Certainly no work in recent memory has generated as much in debate in the experimental sector as Isiah Medinaʼs first feature, one in which every frame and every cut bespeak a previously untapped means of human expression. This is the rare film that feels truly inexhaustible." - Keyframe

"Fascinating. Truly worth watching for its boundless sense of enthusiasm, its heart-on-sleeve desire to capture the essence of everything on film, be it a still life of a sunbeam perfectly striking the indent of a pillow on which a head recently slept, or one of Medina’s friends as they alternate between rhetorical and conversational dialogues." - Movie Mezzanine

"I am astounded. We mathematicians or philosophers speak so much about multiplicities, overlapping, ramifications, etc. and it is just beautiful to see all the concepts at work, with admirable visual force. The cuts, continuities, off-voices, silences, the very real superpositions of multiplicities, produce a new opening of our minds and sensibilities." - Fernando Zalamea, mathematican and philosopher, author of "Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics"