In Lyrical Nitrate, the better of these two simultaneously released experimental films, Dutch director Peter Delpeut has strung together fragments from old silent melodramas and travelogues found decaying in an Amsterdam theater to create a charming visual poem. The unrelated sequences (two miners expiring; a shipwrecked couple courting) accumulate emotionally, poignantly fixing a world now lost to us. The Forbidden Quest attempts a fictional narrative about an ill-fated polar expedition. Again, Delpeut uses innocuous silent travel footage, which takes on an ominous tone within the context of tragedy. Conceptually ambitious but dramatically unconvincing, Quest overreaches. Nitrate: A- Quest: C+
Posted April 26 1996 — 12:00 AM EDT
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