Thursday, July 15, 2010

TWITCH vs EDIT

EDIT I JA Alekse Gajića prikazan je na festivalu Fantasia u Montrealu i ispraćen je kritikom na sajtu Twitch.

Fantasia 2010: TECHNOTISE: EDIT & I Review

by Kurt Halfyard, July 13, 2010 5:30 PM


There is a moment at about the halfway point in manga inspired Serbian animated film Technotise: Edit & I where the lead character has intense consensual sex with her own central nervous system. The moment is a transcendent one both on a visual level but also in looking how identity can be divorced from the flesh but still used for physical gratification. Think of the Merovingian computer program giving another digital construct an orgasm in Matrix: Reloaded, yet have this one take place more in the real world from a machine merging into the body of its protagonist. I wish there were more moments like this in Technotise which often confines itself to a more straightforward chase and action extravaganza with only a scant cerebral morsels hidden along the way. Based on Aleksa Gajić's comic book, Edit & I is the solid but not perfect first feature from animation house Black White 'N' Green and it puts contemporary Serbia on the map as a place to watch not just in gory-graphic political films, but also digital pop entertainment.

Set in Belgrade 2074, when flying cars are finally here (along with those neato Back To The Future hover-boards) and robots have achieved near sentience (Super Toys last all summer long!) yet remain in the accepted place in society as tools and playthings. The cast off and obsolete homeless 'bots lay about desultory but conscious on the streets like drowsy homeless people (trash with limited upward mobility) but nobody seems to mind. At least when the heroine has her animatronic teddy bear go kaput, she gives it a proper burial in the robot pet cemetary. Perpetual psychology student Edit Stefanović, when not mourning the loss of her technological companion, struggles to balance her personal life, her needy boyfriend and shrill mother, with her academics and her internship as a care-giver at a technology firm that (for some unclear reason) is keeping a near-catatonic mathematician on staff. An attempt at cheating on her (sixth attempt) at passing final examinations and a moment of trust at her work add up to possibly the birth of an artificial intelligence. The usual shady corporate and government forces give chase, but since the A.I. is wedded to the flesh of Edit (and growing), there is an interesting dialogue between woman and machine. All life is born out of an accident and at the expense of something else as a fuel source (just ask the cows or the wheats and grains), so the central question that the film wrestles with (albeit not too hard) is what is the worthiness of this new life form, and it is it a better person than us. Technotise draws on a number of the usual science fiction sources from Philip K. Dick to Isaac Asimov (a satisfying nod to Darren Aronofsky's pi was a surprise) but really it is in love with Japanese Manga. I am not sure if it adds anything new to the science fiction conversation, but the creators certainly do not embarass themselves. The mix of Serbian humour, a glimpse of Slobodan Milošević, a dollop of social commentary, and more than a little sexual attitude in the heroine qualify it as a worthy film to seek out.

While Technotise never quite achieves the thematic maturity of the best of hard science fiction or the technical polish (various animated layers do not always satisfyingly mesh together) of the recent output Mamoru Oshii or Satoshi Kon (and is that really a fair thing to put a first time studio up against?) it is nontheless a very accomplished first film. Since the director explicitly references Katsuhiro Otomo with Edit's childhood teddy-bear, I will concede that this film could very well be Serbia's AKIRA, a fascinating introduction point into (hopefully) a burgeoning animation scene in an unexpected place.

[Technotise is already sold and licensed for the inevitable Hollywood life-action remake which may tighten up the shaggier character stuff and amp up the stakes, but without a little more brains, will stand a sad chance at being just another Matrix clone]

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