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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'I'M NOT HERE'
- Directed by Julian Quentin -

“I’m Not Here” is an experimental film depicting a robotized society.

In a gloomy enterprise, women are mechanized and transformed into robotic entities that spend their time working, watching propaganda and “regenerating” for further use, being constantly supervized by a man. But one malfunctioning humanoid manages to set herself free and cause chaos in the strictly controlled environment.

This is film is unique and complex and thus is hard defining it. First of all it is a film that experiments with many forms of visual expression. It a  dystopia portraying a doomed society, but also a conceptual film that focuses more on the ideas it wants to show, rather than trying to build detailed and believable universe for the viewer. The audience does not  immerse in the world presented, but accepts a convention. The filmic events develop on the rhytm of electronic music and at times, the action unfolds as choreographic moments. The oppressive dreary atmosphere is conveyed through the low key lighting of the black and white shots, the high contrast of the images, the surrounding fog and the intense lens flares. The sharp editing cuts and the numerous superimpositions, the use of slow motion and fast forward contribute to the nightmarish feel of the short. The film is divided in chapters and features and contains no dialogue but in some scenes,  text is used to illustrate the thoughts  of the characters.

The visual style and the the story remind us of the works of German expressionism, especially of the Fritz Lang’s masterpiece “Metropolis”. The film is not just abundant in experimentation with cinematic forms of expression, but also a a commentary on modern society. The narcissistic leader that exploits the masses admires his face  in a mirror, deeming himself as a hero. The concept of propaganda is smartly illustrated with brainwashing texts projected on a screen watched by the hypnotized women, while a male assistant moves a pipe to pour popcorn in their recipients. The liberated worker can’t be heard by the others and has to disconnect them from the system to start a revolution. The moment of  the big rebellion is  illustrated as spellbinding dance of the characters in color shot, where the leader remains monochromatic as he is distoyed.

“I’m Not Here” is a challenging arthouse short that will fascinate audiences with its uniqueness.