“One Day I’m going to die.”
“My energy will disperse into the universe.”
“I will become dust.”
“I will shed this mortal coil.”
“Everything will be over.”
“Everyone I know will be gone.”
“Everything I do in my life will be forgotten.”
“Everything is meaningless.”
If the above quotes don’t already disturb you, consider them being spoken dead-pan by young children who also happen to be playing in a park. This is how #Postmodem opens, and unsurprisingly it immediately establishes an uncomfortable sense of foreboding. Fortunately, it also can’t fail to capture the audience’s attention. With a cold-opener such as this, it’s hardly surprising that at its core, #Postmodem is the story of humans and their constant struggle with their own mortality.
Fortunately, the impending sense of dread is quickly replaced with humour as you’re exposed to visual treats such as a cheesy infomercial selling vortexes and an instructional video on how to install a circuit board on your head. It’s fucking weird in the best possible way. And don’t think the film is above including strange musical numbers depicting the ability to achieve immortality through technology. Warning: look out for the first song of the film; Mega, Mega Upload. It can and will embed itself into your brain for at least 48 hours.
One of the charms of the film is how purposely amateur it looks. Clearly the Borscht Corp team were working on a small budget, but they made it work in their favour by owning it. Some of my personal favourites were the terrible edits, dodgy sound and slide show panels that utilised the worst font and screen wipes that PowerPoint has to offer. It’s truly reminiscent of a year 8 English presentation, and it’s glorious in its execution. Interestingly, the quick cuts between scenes seems oddly reminiscent of present day culture and the way in which we quickly flit from topic to topic and gadget to gadget.
The parody that #Postmodem achieves, as well as the subsequent thought processes regarding uploading our consciousness’s, seems particularly poignant in 2014. Firstly there is the recent release of Transcendence, and secondly our increasing narcissism that comes as a result of our collective social media addiction. Conveniently, the very thing that makes us so desperate for self-preservation may be exactly what enables us to achieve it. But the beauty of #Postmodem is how it forces us to consider the consequences of being reduced a digital world of singularity, where we exist merely as an online avatar. Would we be truly immortal? What would happen when the technology we’re so reliant on eventually failed? The inevitable existential crisis that the film invokes should be emotionally devastating and leave audiences figuratively whiplashed by its criticisms of the modern world.
However, the humour and sheer ridiculousness of the scenes themselves make it highly accessible and more likely to resonate with people. One can only hope that it won’t go viral and ironically become little more than a mere ‘retweet’ or ‘like’ for people who will forget it as quickly as they found it.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Run Time: 13 minutes
#PostModem screens this week in Toronto as part of the Canadian Music Week Film Festival 2014. The screening will precede Miami Connection by Richard Park on Friday, May 9th at 11.30pm.