The surf video is a tricky art form. The subject matter – surfing – must constantly remain the main focus of the art which leaves little room for a filmmaker to be creative and contribute. Storyline, cut-aways, filters, editing and overall tone are the limited utensils that allow a film to stand out. In Secret Sound Underground, Jack Coleman is well aware that in order to make an impression and to project his art he must utilize the few film tricks allotted him.
Coleman’s Secret Sound Underground scraps storyline, taking an approach that is a collage of surfing from places like Indonesia and Mexico while being completely stamped with fucked-up b-roll footage likened to a methadone addict’s wonderful and terrifying dream. The film is abrupt and abrasive, breaking from normal surf film form. Though the film is reminiscent of Morning of the Earth and other psychlike 70s surf culture Coleman adds his own schizophrenic artistic voice making Secret Sound Underground unique. The dreamlike, removed aura of the film is partly attributed to the exotic Southeast Asian influence seen in the cut-away footage.
Like good art, this film is not easy. Secret Sound Underground is a piece of art that needs consideration; it is not a purely entertaining straightforward surf film nor is it a rhetoric film (which is so popular these days). Overall, Secret Sound Underground is a well scored, well edited meditation on drugged-out surf culture that is sure to weird out your parents.
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