Soliloquy is more appreciative of its freeform expressionism than anything else.
Soliloquy (2021) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on February 22, 2023
Rating 3 /5
There’s something about Soliloquy’s rant and assembly that makes it feel like a compelling short film for the era. Sure, at first glance, it looks like a low-budget video essay cobbled together for a YouTube video. It’s an experimental type of short independent film that attempts to mix 3D animation with video clips found online while trying to speak directly to the modern movement of those trying to live in this chaotic world. While not all that unique, the speech does feel as though it’s trying to tap into something as visceral as the more radical short films of the 1960s and 1970s, designed to attract, enrage, and inspire.
Artist Martine Syms is trying to reach out to millennials and Gen-Z as best as possible with familiar tools. The online masses have found themselves more inclined to have their eyeballs drawn towards a vtuber or animated avatar than they are somebody appearing on camera. Thus, Syms created Kita, a 3D avatar that looks like a video game character with the motion of someone alive via motion capture. She sways around and moves her arms as she attempts to captivate audiences who will take seriously her words about what it means to be human in this era of massive technological innovation.
Syms's words are more profound on a cerebral level than trying to accurately account for the technological progress and its full effects on society. Instead, she comments more on the online cultural zeitgeist formed around social media, capitalism, and innovation. Her ranting is equal parts condemnation and hope, delivering solid points about how we’ve become crash-test dummies for social media. We rely so much on these many avenues for connection and information that it can become easy for our minds and consciousness to become manipulated in a world that feels both open and closed within this realm.
There’s an almost insulting level of accuracy in Syms's tactics to reach the audience. The many stock clips she lifts for this film feel like the predictable filler that crowds so many YouTube essays that become so fervently consumed for their entertainment and education. The format has a bit of freedom for Syms to become often lost in her thoughts, sometimes rambling on what she notices of our world and processing it as her thoughts come to her. There’s a frustratingly free-flowing nature that becomes almost too accurate for the most mundane YouTubers. I almost instinctively expected her to end the short with the bog standard, “That’s all for this video, be sure to like and subscribe.”
Soliloquy is more appreciative of its freeform expressionism than anything else. At first glance, I found myself almost taken aback by its low effort, but it started to grow on me after some time. It presents just enough of that online expectation within its structure that it’s easier to become focused on the words of Kita and her ranting about the world. It doesn’t exactly go in any place all that profound, but the desire to strike out and reach the consciousness of those bedazzled by social media is an admirable one of note.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.