Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cinema Finally Caught Up with the Internet

We're All Going to the World's Fair (2021) - Schoenbrun Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 8.31.53 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 8.32.44 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 8.33.24 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 7.28.29 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 8.30.52 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 8.30.24 AM It's remarkable to think that it's been more than twenty years since Kiyoshi Kurosawa's internet themed horror, Pulse, came out. And it took twenty years for another, more down to earth, acute observations of growing up with the internet to come out, which is Jane Schoenbrun's We're All Going to the World's Fair. There has been some internet themed horror films in recent years, but none really concentrated on the alienation and performative aspects of the internet in a heartbreaking and poignant way Schoenbrun presents here. The main point of the movie is that in the internet discourse, no one knows one another, there is no distinguishing between what's real and what is not,that everyone has been circling around one another, for comfort, for lust, for real human connections, reaching out ever so timidly and endlessly without no tangible satisfaction. On a larger context, for the last two decades, this has been the case for millions of lonely souls.

On another level, Schoenbrun, a non-binary filmmaker, uses the film to reflect on the internet as a stage for countless queer teens in non-major cities trying to find their way around in the internet ether, trying to find themselves through performance. And I'm not saying that performance aspect of the internet is only relegated to the queer teens. But you can read the film as that way. Internet also can be a hazadous and dangerous place. But the film also turns the tables on the perceived predator/victim catfishing theme. It encompasses many layers of the internet dominated world and reflect the melancholy of accepting and living with something less than authentic, honest, truthful relationship because those things don't exist.

Queer Space

Terminal Norte (2021) - Martel Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 8.32.17 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 7.41.16 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 8.34.40 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 8.13.07 AM Lately I've been reading up a lot on 'queer space' - the periperal space where one can create their own utopia and at the same time, giving a middle finger to the heteronomative and highly patriarchal majority. After Zama, Lucrecia Martel, one of the greatest living filmmakers, goes back to Salta, the Nothern Andean region where she hails from, during pandemic induced lockdown, and makes Terminal Norte, a short documentary on copleras/female singers and musicians. Our guide is Julieta Laso, whose gravelly voice makes my spine tingle into the mountainous slopes and introduces many queer, trans artist dabbling in traditional and non-traditional music (Trap and Noise included). In Martel's hands, one loses themselves soon enough, and becomes multitudes of voices across gender, age and time. What a pleasure to witness an artist in her zenith of power creating something so consistent and true to her craft in the time of global crisis, where togetherness, human touch has become the enemy? As Laso sings in her moanful voice with her tiger's stare, I feel that it's only art that can help us through in tough times.