57,000km Between Us
Well, what a way to start my first ever film festival!
Before I get into the film, I’ll just let you know that getting there, collecting my ticket and getting back all went as fine as fine can be! I felt great and feel great having done it. There were loads of film festival workers there so there was no way I could have got confused. They were helpful, and gave me a little slip of paper on which to rate the film in order for the festival to hand out the audience award at the end of the festival – I know some wouldn’t agree, but I couldn’t help but award this film 5 stars!
Why did I give 57,000km Between Us (written, directed and edited by Delphine Kreuter) 5 stars? It just clicked with me so well. The main character of Nat was played exceptionally well by Marie Burgun, IMHO. A true representation of today’s, or perhaps the not too distant future’s generation (some of the seemingly buffer-free web streaming was a tad unrealistic)! The main reason it clicked with me so well was because of the other protagonist, Adrian, who knew Nat only through the internet, because he was stuck in an isolation ward (most likely having chemotherapy, but his illness was never mentioned). He chatted to her through an online game where they got “married”, and then Nat, of course, spoke of meeting Adrian (since he only lived 57,000km away, you see)! But Adrian wasn’t used to having visitors. In his subplot we met his mother, who seemingly lived alone in a very decadent apartment. She chatted to her son via webcam, but couldn’t bring herself to visit him, or look at him on the PC. She also lied to his friends about where he had gone. After finally meeting Nat, who left him her hat (one of the things I liked the most in the film, Nat’s fashion sense!), he almost dies, but luckily is revived through drugs. I felt a pang during this scene, as it reminded me of my time in the BMTU and ICU. When he eventually got online again with his mother, she broke down in front of her monitor, finally looking at him. That’s where the film ends, really. There was a little hint that perhaps meeting Adrian had persuaded Nat to live less in the virtual world, cooped up inside her own isolation unit (her bedroom). And that when Adrian got better, they would be together in the real world.
So yeah, if you know me, hopefully you get now why I couldn’t not give this film five stars. The other subplots with Nat’s mum, Margot, were interesting too, and nothing seemed out of place much, not even Nat’s transexual dad, “Nicole” (though there was an implied suicide that went completely unnoticed and was never mentioned by the characters whether it did or didn’t happen). I’ll admit, it took me half an hour before I got into it, due to its cinema verite style of filming with handheld cameras, and shown in a 4:3 aspect ratio. But as the film progressed I think I understood why it was shot this way: to help us see things like the audience of Margot’s online webshow (in the subplot she and her family were constantly filmed by her slightly sociopathic boyfriend), like Adrian, stuck in his bed watching the world through Nat’s webcam (a particularly beautiful scene displays this best, when Adrian points out to Nat a dead rabbit on the side of the road and she picks it up, carrying it gently and laying it to rest under a blossom tree).
I mean, the parallels it runs to my life, especially with what I mentioned today about wanting my family on TV, are kind of spooky! I am like Adrian (except that I have a nicer mother than he did, thankfully). Alas, who would be my Natalie? Yeah, that wasn’t the best bit – having to watch it alone, knowing who I wanted to be there with me watching it too… The 57,000km between us sucks – the film however, is the best one I’ve seen so far at the festival (oh, don’t be a spoilsport and point out that I’ve only been to one, I know, I know)!