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Chain Camera

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Product Details

  • Actors: Silva Arzunyan, Leo Diaz
  • Directors: Kirby Dick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009I7O3Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,690 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Award-winning director Kirby Dick (SICK, DERRIDA, TWIST OF FAITH) presents a radical experiment in documentary filmmaking. Ten students at Los Angeles' John Marshall High School (the location for the "high schools" in GREASE and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) were given video cameras to record their lives--with no limitations on what they could shoot. After one week, the cameras were given to ten new students, and so on. Like chain letters, the cameras moved from student to student for an entire school year. Dick culls some of the best video diary footage of 16 students, illuminating a profound and surprisingly hopeful portrait of young America at the turn of the 21st century. Candidly riffing on everything from sexuality, drugs and eating disorders to parents and race relations, CHAIN CAMERA is poignant, hilarious and refreshingly real.

DVD Special Features
- Feature audio commentary with director Kirby Dick, producer Eddie Schmidt and students Cinammon, Ethan, Amy and Jesse
- Four deleted scenes
- Four deleted student sequences
- "Back to School with Kirby Dick": An interview with the director
- "Woman with a Movie Camera": An interview with producer Dody Dorn
- Theatrical trailer
- Alternate title treatment reel
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired


Documentarian Kirby Dick (Twist of Fate, Sick) gave video cameras to students at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles and asked them to record their lives for a week, after which the cameras were passed on to other students who recorded their lives for a week, and so on for the extent of the school year. The resulting 700 hours of footage was whittled down to a fascinating and frustrating 84-minute documentary--fascinating because of the raw depiction of adolescence, simultaneously self-conscious and unfiltered; frustrating because 16 students are only seen for around five minutes each, making each segment little more than a glimpse into an entire life. Kids like sassy lesbian Cinnamon, politically driven Jesse, or bright, bubbly, and painfully self-deprecating Amy deserve more than five minutes--in fact, viewers will want to know more about all of these kids, as well as ones included in deleted segments. Still, one would be frustrated if Chain Camera weren't successful at capturing something genuine--despite the swearing, broken homes, and sexual experimentation, these teens have a fundamental innocence that's on the brink of being lost. The contrast between these real kids and the glossy teenagers depicted in movies and television (Marshall High is the set for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Grease) couldn't be more poignant. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By icomputered on September 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
It was a very interesting documenatry. I was a kid during the late 90's so this was interesting to watch. It was cool to see that kids then were pretty much the same as when I was in high school. this movie is also somewhat depressing.
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By Pepper K. on October 6, 2012
Format: DVD
If I wanted to watch high school students being annoying I could probably just go to the Youtube. I think where this fails is that there are so many students profiled that it's hard to show anything in depth. Some of the students definitely have lives of struggle but you only get a surface view of how the feel, what they think, how they cope etc. It's a very shallow view of the students.
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3 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Leonard on November 29, 2006
Format: DVD
Just a slight word of warning, the girl I remember most vividly from the movie is cut from the DVD--Silva, the Armenian. Really pissed me off cause I was trying to show her scenes to my wife who is Armenian and I thought I was going nuts until I realized she's not on the DVD.
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