In our current social media age, nothing is ever enough. The berating of manipulative sponsors, obsessed followers, and the bombardment of one’s own self-image can be a stressful occupation. The competitive market is a rich farce, where influencers compete against one another, in a game of photogenic lifestyles. In Magnus von Horn’s latest film, he comments on the endangerment of internet obsession and the loss of one’s own identity when constantly posting on social media. Sweat is a viscous film, shot with intense zooms mimicking a documentary style. The result is a claustrophobic, kinetic, and vibrant piece of enriching drama. Although the film’s lens could have been even more biting and observant in the hands of a women director; von Horn makes due with his own previous knowledge on the subject and creates a relatively effective think-piece on the superficiality of influencer culture.
Sweat is an exhilarating film, one that brilliantly toils with moral standpoints and uncomfortable situations. Nearing the climax and resounding finale, the film takes some intriguing and thought provoking directions, further enhancing von Horn’s topical commentary on the hierarchy of online and in person social circles. The more we seek for attention on the web, the more lonely and desperate we gradually become. It’s only when we seek solace with the people we encounter online, where we can move on from our stingy toxic lifestyles and create something new. Something beautiful born out of the hellscape of social media. A life beyond sweat and tears.
Sweat is now available to stream at this year’s 56th Chicago International Film Festival as part of the international competition programs.