– The complex connection between lived experience and the written word is at the heart of Mikko Makela’s London-set sophomore feature

Review: Sebastian

Ruaridh Mollica (left) in Sebastian

What could be worse for an artist: a lack of imagination, or of experience? The young protagonist at the centre of Sebastian [+see also:
interview: Mikko Mäkelä
film profile
, the sophomore feature from London-based Finnish-British director Mikko Makela which premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, seems to suffer from both. We are first introduced to him (Ruaridh Mollica) while he is meeting with an older man who pays him for sex; soon after, we find him in the wildly unerotic context of a meeting at a literary magazine. Max is a writer working on his first novel, which is centred on a sex worker / escort named Sebastian — only no one knows that all the situations described in the book are directly drawn from his own experience rather than from interviews. He isn’t a sex worker writing a book, but a writer researching sex work in order to write a book. 

(The article continues below – Commercial information)

This premise may suggest that Sebastian would build into a cynical critique of current trends in publishing, namely a focus on first-person tales of somewhat unusual, ideally traumatic personal experience, and a demand for authors’ complete self-disclosure. But while the film does paint, with a few well-chosen brushstrokes, a relatively accurate portrait of the London literary scene (shoutout to Granta and the LRB podcast), it is more interested in Max himself and his own convictions about what he must do to succeed. 

The very precise dialogue and slow delivery from the cast, all embracing a rather arch and stilted acting style, initially seem to place the film at some remove from realism, in a more stylised and tense world than our own where Max’s project would simply be a smart and pragmatic choice. But this cold reality quickly begins to feel oversimplified and uninteresting, and it is a relief when Max’s plan begins to crack. After his publisher complains about the repetitive nature of Sebastian’s adventures, Max decides to take bigger risks with his sexual encounters, but the drugs he takes to stay awake during an all-night orgy make him miss an important meeting the next day, as well as the rare chance to interview none other than Bret Easton Ellis. The American Psycho author famously likes to tease readers and critics with the suggestion that the tales of debauchery and violence he describes so vividly in his novels might be taken directly from his own experience — video and audio clips of Ellis discussing his work punctuate much of the film as Max prepares for his interview. These snippets of course reflect on the young writer’s own method, but besides bringing to the fore the duality of experience vs. imagination, this seems like an odd juxtaposition to make. Excerpts from Max’s novel suggest it is little more than a series of descriptions of what he has done with various clients, documentary-like reports from a secret underground scene. By contrast, and although much is made of the plots and events in Ellis’ novels, his biggest legacy is probably his style: banal language is mixed with an onslaught of extremely detailed descriptions, transcribing a tortured state of extreme sensitivity and disconnect, a permanent conflict between the search for something true and for a balm to numb reality’s sting. 

There are suggestions that Makela aims to depict a similar duality in his own protagonist, and the contrast between very physical sex scenes and shots of Max silently typing up his reports on his laptop afterwards most clearly represents that clash. As the young writer eventually faces the consequences of his deception and comes close to losing everything, we catch glimpses of the troubled human being behind the calculating writer. But while the film expertly builds suspense around Max’s project getting increasingly out of hand, it is difficult to feel moved by his story because we can easily imagine how it will end. 

When we leave Max at the end of the film, he is triumphant: his career is saved, and he no longer has to lie to anybody. But Makela seems uninterested in the artistic implications of this development. Going forward, and unlike Ellis’, it seems Max’s writing career won’t require him to have any imagination at all. Where so many stories of literary fraud centre on authors who lie and cheat, Sebastian makes the point (perhaps inadvertently) that honesty isn’t just the best policy, it is also the best commodity. 

Sebastian was produced by Bêtes Sauvages (UK), Helsinki Filmi Oy (Finland), Barry Crerar (UK), and Lemming Film (the Netherlands).

(The article continues below – Commercial information)

Source link

By fcjyy

Free IMVU Credi PUBG FREE UC 10 FREE Shein Gift minecraft free Fire Kirin Sign Shein Summer Gi free IMVU Credi airbnb gift car YOUTUBE IS FULL HOW TO GET FREE TOP 5 EASIEST F NEW FIRE KIRIN one 4 all gift Free Amazon.com MONOPOLY GO FRE how to get unli BIGO LIVE Free how to get tikt bigo live free Bigo Live free ONLYFANS VIEWER TODAY S COIN MA How to get free HOW TO GET FREE Bingo Blitz Fre GET YOUR $750 S IMVU Free Credi PDF GET PAYPAL FREE PSN Gift C ONLYFANS VIEWER iNSTAGRAM FOLLO Get Free Instag Free Shein Gift Free Instagram Fire Kirin No D How do I get a New Trick To Ge Having a Hard t PUBG MOBILE MOD Today's Bingo B Got TikTok Coin Bingo Blitz Fre How I got 99999 FREE MONOPOLY G FREE PSN Gift C New.updated She HOW TO GET FREE COIN MASTER FRE Free Amazon Gif 8 Ball Pool Hac Free Shein Gift Fire Kirin Sign GET FREE PAYPAL Get 1000-5000 F [1000K+Free] Sh BIGO Live Free Free Coins & Fr BIGO LIVE unlim Free Monopoly G Free Fire Diamo 8 Ball Pool Gen TOP 5 APPS THAT Free Shein Gift Coin Master: La 8 Ball Pool Coi (updated genera connect % 8 Way [Premium Method TÉLÉCHARGEMENT 2024 MAIBBYY ON ps plus card Playstation Red UC CODES PUBG F REAL* Free!! Ti Free Instagram How to Get Unli Bigo Live Diamo Free Diamond Fr 2024 WAIFUMIIA COMMENT PIRATER tiktok coins fo steam card $100 FREE MONOPOLY G Bingo blitz Fre Bingo Blitz Fre ONLYFANS PREMIU FREE FIRE DIAMO FREE COIN MASTE FREE Shein Gift Garena Free Fir Free Instagram 9 PUBG KR FREE 8 Ball Pool Fre Free Diamonds F 8 Ball Pool Hac Free Instagram Today's Bingo B Add Unlimited 8 ONLYFANS CREATE Coin Master Fre Amazon Gift Car ONLYFANS VIEWER BIGO LIVE FREE IMVU free credi Earn Amazon Gif Free Amazon Gif giftcardmall my How To Get Free Claim your 1200 Free Amazon Gif Bingo Blitz Fre COIN MASTER FRE (codes) Fire Ki [UPDATED] MONOP GET TIKTOK COIN Free PlayStatio Working Playsta MIDASBUY UNITED psn card Free Playstatio Free Diamonds F TOP 5 EASIEST F Monopoly GO Fre Bigo Live Free HOW TO GET FREE Daily Gifts Bin GET FREE AMAZON How To get diam [How to Get Fre TÉLÉCHARGER PUB How I Get Monop Get 1000-5000 F How To Get Free Fire Kirin Mone Updated Bigo Li free minecraft PlayStation Gif TÉLÉCHARGEMENT Monopoly Go Fre NEW UPDATE COIN connect % 8 Way COIN MASTER WOR Bigo Live Diamo Free Instagram bigo live free Earn FREE Credi (updated genera Free fire new F 100% FREE BIGO How to get Free Free Instagram NEW FIRE KIRIN Coins & Cash Re Free Shein Gift COIN MASTER FRE ONLYFANS VIEWER F R E E ONLYFAN DIGITAL WALLETS Free PSN gift c 10 Amazon Gift (NEW-UPDATED) M Free Playstatio How to Get Free Get Diamonds fo google play car Free Imvu Credi Congratulations psn card Bingo Blitz Fre HOW FREE UC PUB COIN MASTER FRE 07N6 FREE PAYPA BIGO LIVE DIAMO How To Get CASH BIGO LIVE Free BIGO LIVE DIAMO FIRE KIRIN FREE Daily Gifts Bin Free Fire Diamo