The San Francisco Embarcadero Freeway comes to life in this elegy for modernity. The Freeway was deemed a triumph of engineering, a monument for human inventiveness. With the 1989 earthquake, however, the freeway was severely damaged and with it all the industrial-technological promises it held. Premonition shows the situation before the crisis, a deceptive moment of industrial harmony.
"And when the illusion disappears, that is to say when we see the being or fact as it really exists outside ourselves, we experience a strange feeling, complicated half with regret for the vanquished phantom, half with agreeable surprise for the novelty, for the actual fact."—Charles Baudelaire
"There’s an exquisite despair and a dooming ambiguity suspended in the cool morning clarity of Dominic Angerame’s new film, Premonition. It’s short and bittersweet, like a prelude by Debussy, and promises a broad integration of the aesthetic elements of his work, now full-fledged and ascendant. But with the widening view and depth of field and new heights, there’s also a painful consciousness of the vanity of all things human and of their transience...Trans fixed if not much further along the road, we feel like those wide-eyed and well- intended Akkadian stargazers teetering on the edge of a vast new knowledge hovering overs...revealing...revealing...what?
"Premonition, despite its sadness, does not judge modernity and its Gargantuan feats of engineering, but, on the contrary, admires them, in the fullest aesthetic sense of the word, like a traveler turning a bend in the road whereby an enormity of landscape is revealed, overwhelming his ego, freeing him up toward a larger question while simultaneously diminishing his particularity in the very grandeur of it all...Angerame even loves the works of man, as he loves work itself, but there’s something awestruck before these very works that recalls the child’s wonder before the suddenness of natural disaster, like a five year old staring into a friend’s gaping wound...
"Modernity, what happened to your highway? You tower over us, then you disappear. The arch and ribs of the guardrails seemed so very real to us, like the backbone of a stegosaurus. Gone. The casually defiant smoked cigarettes upon you. The sincerely healthy played tennis in your shadows. You were close to our places of work downtown. The seagulls’ cries echoed in your ribcage. Gone. Submerged in the rising waters of time. One more atlanta vanity.
"The illusion looms high, but passes like the ships you could see from those heights...The frozen freighter at anchor beneath the endlessly (?) spanning bridge, is haunted, and somehow recalls the ghostship from Nosferatu, even in its perfect otherworldly calm. The film hides its meaning, comes in like the tide but still disappears...A fragment of a circle, abstracted. Near the bridge. The highway snakes along. Adolescents tagged it. A jogger likes a flea on its back. And emptied of cars it’s its own worst indictment: now that we’re not busy with it, what can it mean?
"The staunch Ferry Building, the swift ferry and its charms, the blimp, the helicopter. ---All of them toys when it cast its cool morning shadow their way. We were heading out toward our favorite cafe, unknowing it would come down, like rain...
"Premonition is not just about a defunct highway to have done with, it’s the painful inventory of a desired and questionable relationship gone down."—Ronald F. Sauer
"The concrete world of the American infra-structure and its demise are made strangely poetic in this expressionist documentary which shows the vacant San Francisco Embarcedero Freeway after it has outlived its usefulness, before its destruction. In an atmosphere of daylight, mystery, Angerame sows inklings and reveals the past encircled by the future. Lyrical, ominous, comic, PREMONITION works on the attentive viewer like a remembrance of something that is yet tohappen, silent, telling daydream."—Barbara Jaspersen Voorhees.
"Roads, bridges, street lamps and underpasses are all harbingers of an untold urban tale, set in the vacant San Francisco Embarcadero Freeway before its’ destruction. We are led through a desolate cityscape as if we were actually penetrating it. A bridge covered with graffitied sperms heading towards downtown, is a metaphor for the man-made womb that is the city. PREMONITION’S approach is as lucid as it is perplexing."—Images Film Festival, Toronto, 1997
Director's Choice Award, Black Maria Film Festival, Sept., 1996
Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1996
Director's Choice Award, Black Maria Film Festival, 1996
Ann Arbor Film Festival, Prize Winner, 1995