|Index||5 reviews in total|
Pixelschatten is a film of our times, a poignant look at friendship and
love and what it means to come of age in a digital world. The film
follows small-town blogger, Pixel, as he documents the life and times
of his friends, which mostly amounts to parties, drinking and taking
cheap shots at his roommate Lutz. Though his blog, Pixelschatten, was
once a town-wide sensation, from the outset it seems as if his
following is waning. Even Pixel's friends have mostly lost interest in
it. This mimic's Pixel's own existential angst, as, seemingly, all his
friends have moved on, while he's still very much stuck in the past.
The most touching element of the film is Pixel's relationship with his
girlfriend, Suse. Her anxiety surrounding her boyfriends very public
online persona perfectly illustrates the films exploration of what
identity means in the age of social media.
The film is comparable to the work of American "mumblecore" directors like Aaron Katz and, especially, Joe Swanberg, whose 2006 film "LOL" also looks at the new ways relationships are being navigated in a digital culture. Pixelschatten is filmed almost exclusively with POV shots. Though this may initially strike people as gimmicky, it coincides with the movie on a thematic level. Furthermore, it is broken up with various looks into Pixel's blog: the posts, the comments and the videos Pixel himself makes. All of this is clearly reminiscent of the increasing convergence of media forms that shape our own experience as two-point-oh individuals.
The film's tag line -- "our life is online" -- is all well and good, but Pixelschatten itself seems to contradict this. While the online presence of its characters necessarily shapes their offline lives, it is the latter, their "real" lives, that are a place of personal, internal struggle. Although the Internet can provide us with a place to share and validate ourselves, by the film's conclusion we learn, what happens there is superficial and potentially false. Ultimately, what's most important in life cannot be translated and rendered online, but rather happens in the little moments with real friends.
The tagline of Pixelschatten is "Our Life is Online" but the question
it poses is "What happens when we get too connected"?. In a time where
everyone is connected, finding your place in the world is harder than
you'd think. With everyone having access to any and all information at
their fingertips (the internet), it's harder to impress. In this ever
and constant changing world, it's even harder to stay relevant and
meaningful. The film is one of the most honest looks at the lives of
today's twenty somethings and paints a portrait of a generation that
shares the similar struggles of those in the past, but has the
technology to record every moment of it.
The film follows Pixel, a young man obsessed with his blog, Pixelschatten. He records everything with a video camera and discusses everything with his many readers. As time goes on, his blog becomes his 'gimmick' and the driving force behind his every day interactions with his friends and his girlfriend, Suse. Pixel seems to have lost the ability to connect with his friends and the fact that nothing he experiences is kept secret frustrates them. Pixelschatten was once popular with all of them, each excited and eager to read each day's posts and watch the videos. But, as time has gone on, it seems that everyone but Pixel has grown out of it and leaves him struggling to figure out where to go with it, if anywhere at all. He knows that continued posting on the blog will result in losing those closest to him but, when even the thought of stopping comes to mind, he feels lost and alone.
Pixelschatten is much more than a series of events captured by an avid blogger with a decent sized audience. At its heart, the film focuses on the relationships between these individuals and the connections between them. The film is brutally honest in these depictions and the realism is incredible to watch. The movie is filmed almost entirely in the first person perspective and makes the audience feel as though you're part of the group. As Pixelschatten grows into a much larger group effort than that of just one man, those watching the film are participating in each video, post, and song. You share in each drink and each party and it's because of this that makes the film feel more natural. You would assume that a filming technique like this would hinder the movie, but it makes it much more personal and unique. It's fitting that a film that details the day to day life of a particular person be filmed in such a manner, as every bit of the movie is from his perspective. This showcases the fact that his transition from blog life to real life has completely faded.
Pixelschatten is a small German indie flick that's much larger than its budget. It tells a story that's incredibly relatable to the point of almost being tragic. The film is very reminiscent of the 2006 British gem, Cashback, another somber, yet energetic coming of age tale; as well as Enter the Void, for the use of the first person point of view. The visuals of the film are remarkable, and seeing young filmmakers experimenting with the camera and in post-productions leaves you hoping that the future of movies will continue to impress. The talent in front of the camera leaves you hopeful as well, with terrific performances by all of the actors, especially from Zora Klostermann who plays Suse. She's beautiful, but in the natural "I know that girl!" kind of way and again, this adds to the realism.
I would highly recommend this film, especially to anyone who writes on a blog. With the internet how it is now, anyone can write about their lives and thoughts in a very public forum. Most of the time, the discussions fade off as something else becomes the "new thing", but for the few of us that continue writing, day in and day out, it really does become a large part of our lives. I can honestly say that I have had plenty of moments where I bite my tongue or hold back a thought that's in relation to my blog, because I am aware that not everyone around me wants to hear about it. With Pixelschatten, Pixel does not have that same filter as every word muttered and every thought that comes to mind must be recorded for the masses. It's easily a route many writers can find themselves wandering down and it really does effect the real life connections you already have. In a digital age like the one we live in, it's fairly easy to lose grip on reality and Pixelschatten not only highlights that "phenomenon" but also reminds us that the real connections, with real people, are one of the strongest things we have.
The Good: the fact the movie is a little indie film and doesn't reek of self- righteous 'snobitude' The Better: a near-perfect examination of real lives through an actual first-hand perspective that lets you connect completely with these strangers The Best: knowing that even though we get connected, plugged in, liked, shared, tweeted, and upvoted, nothing beats a fun time with real friends
There are some undeniable truths on modern times. One is that we have
no privacy. Everything can be watched, recorded and transmitted. In
previous times it was easier to have privacy. If someone saw you doing
something, well, it wasn't until the last century that we were able to
record what we watched. Nowadays it's really easy.
Pixelschatten is about Pixel, a blogger who was very popular, but as time passes by and people's interests goes to something else, he struggles to attract attention. His life is public. His life is on line. That's his choice but, what happens to those near him? His girlfriend is irritated by the private issues he reveals on his blog. What happens with the rest of the people who is part of his life and that unwillingly are now public personas?
The search for popularity. The establishment of second identities. The struggles of real life against what we want to show to the rest of the world.
Form and meaning are one in Pixelschatten. Shot in First Person POV, makes the viewer share the perspective from Pixel. He's alienated himself from his close friends and we are just entering his life, as strangers who watch everything from his eyes. Both views are combined in a very effective way.
Now that being the celebrity of the day is something younger folks are looking up to, Pixelschatten comes as a warning and a lesson. We have different waves or seasons of internet content. Bloggers were popular, then podcasters, now the Youtube star is on the rising, followed by the Social Media Celebrity. This is a great examination of modern times through a small budget on an indy German film.
While I write my first impressions about Pixelschatten from my mobile,
I realise how frustrating the idea of claiming your identity through an
online presence could be. Pixel, our protagonist in Pixelschatten is
both a popular blogger and a video documenter, who doesn't flinch from
recording and poking cameras even in his private moments with his
girlfriend. The blog and the act of documenting serve as his tools to
define himself to the readers of his blog and us viewers piggybacking
as voyeurs though his camera. We see Pixel, as his friends around him
respond to him and as his thoughts are duly recorded and posted and
An interesting parallel about Pixel and his camera reminds me of Kieslowski's Camera Buff, where the very act of pointing camera around people leads to a social discord both within family and community. I wonder if social networks were around that time, wouldn't it closely resemble the creeping isolation in Pixel's story. What Social Network just hinted at towards the end, Pixelschatten shows us the anxiety amongst the clamour of the posts and comments on the social medium.
But as much Pixelschatten is Pixel's story, its also the story of Pixel's friends as they deal with sudden notoriety the blog gathers after a certain transgression by Pixel. As we wonder about the characters as they assume their nonchalance with Pixel and the event, Pixelschatten holds a pleasant surprise for us towards the end. Its incredible to know that the film was achieved on a very small budget. It still remains gorgeously shot and beautifully acted, also helped by the excellent cast. Extra brownie points for having a fun song in the film.
great job! i think the film communicates really well! and the best part
is that you get so tied up in their cycle and you feel that you are in
a weird way part of the blog! although of course its a film after all.
great direction! neat screen play!..and i think all the characters did
a great job with their performances!
capturing emotions really well!, and i think the point of view camera style worked perfect! good job! and of course the special effects amplified the blog experience! music was subtle and to the point! perfect!
again, i love the direction! i think Anil has done a great job with this one..maybe a little dodgy trying to see the translation all the time but once u get a hang of it, its cool! crazy German humor, but works! :D
all in all the film is a new experience and has a fresh direction in film making and i highly recommend you watch it!
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