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IFFR 2018 Hivos Tiger Competition

Possessed: Death to social media


- The Metahaven collective and versatile Dutch artist Rob Schröder direct a commentary about the misuse of technology and the abuse of social media by millennials

Possessed: Death to social media

In the running for the Tiger Hivos Award is the latest documentary by the Metahaven collective, screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam and co-directed with Dutch filmmaker, writer and designer, Rob Schröder. Possessed [+see also:
film profile
is an essay film inspired by the current wave of video art denouncing exasperated individualism, installed as a parasite in our brain by the social network autarky.

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Although not a fiction film, Possessed gives life to a sort of allegorical character, with the appearance and voice of a woman, who tells us, with great regret, about the misfortunes that took place on planet earth at the end of the twentieth century and what remains of the twenty-first century. The girl – who does not want to be identified, despite defining herself as "a fragment of the breath of Nothingness" – lives locked away in a dark room. From her bed, the female ghostly presence reveals her own take on a nihilist world while taking selfies on her mobile phone. "Will loving ourselves be enough?", asks the ghost. The answer that Metahaven and Rob Schröder put forward via this somewhat to-the-point essay is clearly not a positive one. 

What stands out about Possessed is its ambition. The authors fill the scenes of the alleged protagonist in her room, or those of her walking down the street with a handkerchief covering her face, with images taken from YouTube, drones and video surveillance cameras. The film also includes interviews with sociologists and other social network consumption experts, who confirm their positions against the abusive use of social media. 

It’s also worth noting that the directors of Possessed have come up with a critique of millennials' unhealthy use of new technology which is far more complex than it may seem. In this sense, Possessed is one of the first commentaries on the subject not to ridicule or punish millennials for their dependence on social networks. Rather, it exempts them from all responsibility. For the directors, they are nothing more than victims of a world that was destroyed long before they were born. According to Schröder and the Metahaven collective, bringing about the climate of insecurity that millennials now face is the generation that precedes them, i.e. their parents. As the ghost of Possessed states, while adopting the point of view of a millennial: "Our parents said they loved us while simultaneously destroying the world and our future."

Possessed is a Dutch production by the company Dutch Mountain Movies, which will also be handling international sales.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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