Hoffman's Passing Through/Torn Formations mixes formal filmic concerns with intriguing personal issues. Linking these two strands together by a symphonic structure and a lyrical voice-over, he creates an allusive and engaging text. Hoffman employs a battery of devices including superimpositions, non-synchronous sound and split-imaging to express the narrator/filmmaker's complex attitudes towards his journey back to a Czechoslovakian past that his grandmother had abandoned over half a century ago.
Using as his point-of-departure the image of his family's gravely ill grand matriarch, Bacsi, Hoffman weaves an intricate tale involving his uncle, a (female) first cousin, Bacsi's remembrances of her past (as he recollects them) and a sojourn that he takes to central Europe to discover his roots. While the forms that the film takes are undeniably experimental, its underlying emotional content marks this piece ultimately as being a poetic, intimate work.
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