Like Me explores loneliness through YouTube culture

Like Me explores loneliness through YouTube culture
Like Me explores loneliness through YouTube culture

This evaluate was once at the start revealed in March 2017, when the film opened at SXSW in Austin, Texas. It Is being republished to coincide with the film’s limited theatrical free up on January 26th, 2018. it will be to be had on streaming condominium and VOD structures on February twentieth, 2017.

It’s easy to learn Like Me as a fatalistic statement on social media. Kiya, the movie’s big name, is a teenage YouTuber who makes the antics of personalities like PewDiePie appear quaint. in the movie’s first quarter-hour, she holds a convenience retailer clerk at gunpoint only for the excitement of recording his meltdown and posting it online.

But Kiya — who seems to have an obsession with older males, and a gloomy want for validation — is chatting with an audience. As her videos hit the web, they spawn an internet of reactions starting from disgust to delight, and so they’d really feel proper at home on the web nowadays.

Kiya’s driving force may also be boiled down to one target market member particularly. With each outrageous new stunt she pulls, this sneering viewer has a slicing observation on her weak “attention whore” stunts. Through online videos, he name callings Kiya, dictating new traces of 1-upmanship, and pushing her to pass them. as the film progresses, so do Kiya’s targets; she ups her sport to include kidnapping, attack, or even snuff motion pictures prior to she confronts her rival.

Rob Mockler, the film’s writer, directer, and editor, describes the film’s perception as a part of a knee-jerk reaction to social media. “i assumed it used to be a real absurd step for humanity, and i believed it used to be more or less scary in many ways,” he says. It made him are searching for validation in something as simple as posting a photo on-line — after which doubt himself if other people didn’t adore it. “Social media changed how i think we glance at ourselves. We Are now kind of crafting, we’re curating reminiscences, we are crafting our identities like by no means earlier than. There Is this real-time kind of authorship of who we are as people.”

Like Me pushes this concept in a fantastical, over-the-best method. The film, clocking in around EIGHTY mins, leans closely into high-idea directing. It’s an odd tale told thru neon colors, uncomfortable close-ups, and looped moments that Mockler says had been impressed by GIFs. Kiya pursues her assured self-destruction like a dog chasing a car, but she by no means appears like an absolutely discovered persona. She’s a living metaphor for loneliness and a spotlight-looking for, but the film by no means addresses why she is that this manner. Her choices are erratic: she kidnaps a person, then treats him as a kind of pet, then doles out more abuse.

Kiya would be a modern-day femme fatale — seducing a man twice her age, then enacting punishment — if she weren’t so young. There’s one thing uncomfortable about the approach the film walks this tightrope. One scene paints Kiya as a large-eyed wild child quietly inquiring for stories; in every other, she wears a bobbed wig and swings from a high-fixed resort room hammock whilst encouraging a person to strip. Her beauty and inherent darkness is fetishized, with one personality describing her appears to be like as “wicked.” but the film is forgiving about her behavior, in all probability as a result of her appearance: at one element, a personality tells her she nonetheless hasn’t committed a criminal offense she couldn’t escape with, because she’s a horny lady.

“that typically manifests in ordinary, scary, and violent tactics”

Asked what the film approach, or what Kiya’s causes are, Mockler was once cryptic in some way even he admits is cliché. After the film’s SXSW beginning, I spoke to at least one viewer who mentioned it felt like a love tale; to me, it felt more like brand new horror. While I asked the director how he felt about both interpretations, he was imprecise, reiterating best that Like Me is deeply rooted in loneliness. “i believe they are all seeking to attach in a few type of unusual manner,” he stated of the film’s characters. “These are all the form of fallacious individuals who are more or less outliers, who’re just looking to connect to folks.” He pushed back in opposition to the speculation that he holds a pessimistic view of social media, saying instead that there’s merely a wierd slice of it that we must always query.

“For me, Like Me began as this common story approximately loneliness and the way we strive to connect with other people, and how that typically manifests in abnormal, scary, and violent ways,” he says. “It’s this sense of being misplaced and vulnerable and scared and feeling like you’re judged, and wanting to reach out in some way to another person to see if they feel that, too.”

Like Me’s imaginative and prescient isn’t cynical, then, however tragic. Kiya has no clear function. She’s desperate for connection, but hasn’t had to face outcomes yet for what she’s done. the rush of consideration she gets for every new stunt ebbs and flows like the waves of the seashore the movie ends on, however it’s onerous to feel pity for her. She’s virtually actually getting away with murder, but the weight of her movements doesn’t feel actual. like several excellent photo or video, Like Me aims to turn handiest the juiciest bits. How the mess gets wiped clean up isn’t intended for us to look.

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