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DVD Books Reviews


Unity out of Diversity, February 22, 2008
By Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States)

A MOMENT ON EARTH is a fascinating 'experience': not only is it a project that is universal in concept and creation, a means to witness the contrasts and similarities of the peoples of the world at a simultaneous moment in time, but it is also a unique work of art - a film in the form of a DVD and a book that documents to myriad aspects of the preparation for this project and allows us to see stills of the creators and their 'heroes' who participated in this global fellowship. It is not only fine reading but it is also terrific entertainment and pause for reflection about the variations and similarities of the historically disparate, but in truth very similar, peoples of this planet.

Credit Jereme Axelrod as the instigator of this art/philosophy/sociology project. A young man of wonder, Axelrod found a way to explore the people of the world, planned his project well, and invited 60 fellow camera persons around the globe to examine their niche in the universe, find their 'moment' of interest that they could capture on film, a moment of fascination each wished to share. Each of the 60 camerapersons then coordinated to film their moment at precisely the same time - 12 noon GMT on August 5, 2004. The countries involved ranged from the Antarctica, Uzbekistan, India, France, Canada, Turkey, China, Thailand, Palestine, Mexico, Kenya, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Iceland, several locations in the USA, Russia, Polynesia and more and the uniting themes are not only the everyday people photographed at daily work, but also lines of visual continuity such as work, religion, dancing, entertainment, construction, and the many aspects of bodies of water and how they influence people's lives.

The film not only shows these moments as captured on hand-held camera equipment, a factor that gives an appropriate 'human touch' sense to the visuals, but the editing of the film often places multiscreens and superimposed images that point out the similarities as well as the differences in the moments being shared. And after the moments themselves are completed, the DVD has interviews with each of the camerapersons who share with the audience the reasons for selecting the 'moment' they chose and the difficulties in timing and capturing that moment in the given constraint of the project.

On film Jereme Axelrod (whose elected moment was filming his father showering and preparing to go off to work in Portland) helps the audience find the avenue to follow in gaining the best insight to the project: read the book (a compilation of emails and telephone calls preparing for the exact time of the filming of these moments, watch the DVD, then return to the book to view the single page photographs with names and a sentence or two commentary from each of the participants. What results from each reader/viewer participation is a sense of wonder, of awe, of tenderness, and of keener understanding as to the brotherhood of man - no matter how strange and different the initial response to each of the captured moments may be. This is an important, though humble, project that pleads for understanding and it is a book/DVD that should be somehow required reading/viewing in every part of this planet. It is a remarkably beautiful feat. Grady Harp, February 08

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