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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 30: Pixelschatten

Thursday

Aug 30: Pixelschatten

"Pixel (Ben Gageik) is a 22-year-old small-town blogger: Everyone can read about him and his friends online."
Directed by: Anil Jacob Kunnel, Rated: NR, 85 minutes

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. 

Every... single... moment. 

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. 

Speaking from first hand experience, blogging can be as ridiculous as crack... but without the weight loss. 

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 also uses (very) quick peeks at the actual blog, and after each event we see its followers' comments and reactions

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. 

A girl in a movie you'd actually have a chance with. 

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

Overall: 8.8/10

Trailer:

I was extremely lucky enough (and honored) to be given a screener of this film from the actual filmmakers (a first for CK!), so unfortunately it's not the most accessible film right now. However, I strongly suggest following the film on Twitter and even demanding it locally through Tugg. It's a great film that so many of us caught up in the blogosphere can relate to and I truly believe it needs to be seen by a lot of people. Please share this with friends! For more information relating to Pixelschatten, check out the official site here

You can also check out my Q&A I did with the writer/director, Anil Kunnel, and the star, Ben Gageik. Here's the link

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10 Comments:

At August 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Mette said...

Love this!
There are so few good German films, so this one is jumping on top of my must-see German films at the time. Thanks for the recommendation.

 
At August 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It's worth it if you can find it! And I agree, there aren't a lot of terrific German movies, but when they're good.. they're incredible!

 
At September 4, 2012 at 6:32 PM , Blogger MT said...

Nick, good review. Downfall was the last German movie I watched. Any idea where we can find this?

 
At September 4, 2012 at 6:33 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Surprised you've seen Downfall lol. Great movie. But as of right now, you can't find the film anywhere but you can demand it through Tugg.

 
At September 4, 2012 at 6:44 PM , Blogger MT said...

Downfall is clearly in my interest spectrum, regarding history my friend.

LINK TO DEMAND PLEASE PIXELSCHATTEN, PLEASE.

 
At September 4, 2012 at 6:56 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It's up above. At the very end of the review.

 
At September 4, 2012 at 7:05 PM , Blogger MT said...

LIES.

 
At September 4, 2012 at 7:09 PM , Blogger MT said...

Done.

 
At November 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM , Blogger Alf Hyde said...

Hi, great review! I'm a friend of Anil's (the director) and have set up a screening in New York via TUGG. You can sign up for it here:

http://www.tugg.com/events/1836

 
At November 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Would totally sign up, but I'm in Colorado lol

 

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