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Amanda Timms knows her town’s landscape like the pages of a phone book – at least, that’s how it sounds when she describes it. In a monotonous tone that suggests a sense of bored hopelessness (or a Ben Stein impersonation), Timms runs down the list: “Taco Bell, KFC, Kmart, Weight Watchers, Toys “R” Us, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chuck E. Cheese's, some cell phone place, and a piano store,” she says – and that’s just along the highway. “Inside the mall, well, there’s way too many stores to list.”

In Jem Cohen’s indie film, Chain, Timms’ is just one view of America’s corporate strip-mall culture. Living alone in a squat near the mall, Timms (Mira Billotte) leads a somewhat parasitic existence, living in a squat, working for minimum wage, and loitering around the mall, working on a video diary with a camera she found. Interspersed with Timms go-nowhere escapades is the more financially proactive life of Tamiko (Miho Nikaido), a Japanese businesswoman who studies American theme parks for her home-based company, which is planning to open its own park in the States. It’s a dreary reminder that even within such a homogenized world, there are as many lifestyles as flavors of coffee – but they all come from the same store (do we really need to name it?). Chain is shown at 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday at Cinema Paradiso (503 NE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). Call 954-525-FILM, or visit
Thu., April 27


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