Between the Light & the Dark (1987)
A charmingly ominous video experiment from 1987, Between the Light and the Dark uses then-fresh technology to realize digital trippiness. Right outta the gate, the CRT-default title text & PC RPG dungeon-synth music set the tone for spookiness that shows the signs of amateur playfulness yet also proves striking in its own instincts. Greenscreen-style sleight-of-hand creates grainy stylized visuals that couldn't exist outside of the computer-manipulated playground. Among other chromatic conjurations, silhouettes are filled by bodies of water & vice versa, showing forms as not distinct entities so much as potential containers or mediums of external projections. The narration, bellowed by a voice-distorted fellow attempting his most imposing Dungeons & Dragons dungeon-master voice, goes on about light and shadow & past and future & a bunch of other mysterious-sounding stuff; it adds to that everyman student-film appeal more than to the visually evident exploration of digital video's abilities to combine & reconfigure binaries. It's an impressive anticipation of later digital filmmakers such as Jacques Perconte & Stom Sogo, who emphasize information overload & deterioration of discernable reality. The whole four-minute package is a pleasing oddity from ordinarily resourced yet ingeniously inquisitive folk excited to try out new technology, even as those experimenters may have intuited foreboding as to what unnerving warps of reality may come in our digital age.