I Gotta Look Good For The Apocalypse


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

I Gotta Look Good For The Apocalypse
"At under six minutes Kartal's piece can only gloss over what amount to highlights." | Photo: UniFrance

The flutter of a chalk binbag across an empty pitch is broken by the roar of that other football, all hard edged and large. A cavalcade of styles of animation, machinma from some successor to second lives, painted rotoscopes with oil thick on the roof like bird droppings, brush strokes of the baby's bawling. Empty aisles made more so by the distance of drawing.

Why did you get mascara? The answer's in the title. In the news unseen but heard figures for pandemic fatalities that feel ancient. Three figures were years ago, "stay home in April, locked down in May". "dialogues and paintings reproduce content found online" in Ayce Kartal's film, VR elements taken directly from their environments. Nostalgia for a pandemic not yet over feels odd, watching it in from my sofa because my risk/reward portfolio with current infection rates suggests it is better to attend a festival online than in person even more so.

The interpolations, the only real being the virtual, the layering of technique over borrowed footage, all contribute to an evocation of memories that here are post-processed but for many are as yet unexamined. At under six minutes Kartal's piece can only gloss over what amount to highlights. What may be a framing device at the start suggests that this is an experience replayed, a memory borrowed. There will be moments that will seem familiar, the hands that wash are not my hands but the motions are. A six sided frisbee's collision box seems larger than the dog that uses it, the spiked light of the streetlamp is matched by the sharp language of the kitchen argument. News footage of empty shelves is matched with a tunnel full of zombies. Rest a little, here 28 months later.

Lips, jackets, masks, these are the things missed and that make them missing. Animated paintings and a suggestion that the "emotions are based on what we used to call real life" don't quite feel the same. Restrictions may be easing in Scotland but my rate of "nots" is climbing. Hospitalisations here are higher than they have been, and "real life" hasn't stopped, just changed. It's often easy as a viewer to find a disconnect from difficult and complex subjects, to determine what ideas you will boycott, where you will divest yourself of concern, where you will bounce across the transatlantic disagreement to sanction this or that. It is harder when the evidence is still flowing laterally across your kitchen table, and that's where "I gotta look good..." suffers, at least for me. I am looking neither for escape nor escapism, but nor am I looking to be reminded that some cages have a role in safety.

Reviewed on: 01 Apr 2022
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I Gotta Look Good For The Apocalypse packshot
Our world is being drained of its substance and digital life forms are multiplying, like these couples who meet in a virtual universe.

Director: Ayce Kartal

Year: 2021

Runtime: 4 minutes

Country: France


GSFF 2022

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