New York Film Festival: Receiver

A still from “Receiver.”

Dir. Jenny Brady. 15 minutes.

Dale Peck memorably described the novel “Infinite Jest” as “bloated, boring, gratuitous and — perhaps especially — uncontrolled.” Even at 15 minutes, “Receiver” achieves something similar.

Billed as an “incisive essay about deafness,” “Receiver” dwells on juddering close-ups of ABC News pundits speaking in irritatingly trebley, low-quality audio. These segments alternate with serene long takes of a deaf child — the message, apparently, being that to hear is not necessarily to understand.

Once that point is received, there’s not much more to observe about this short, whose aesthetic potential is sacrificed to its message. There are a few unintentionally funny avant-garde embellishments, such as captions that change typeface halfway through the short. “Receiver” is the sort of thing you’d see projected on a loop in an art gallery.

1.5/5