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Sweat ★★★★



Director: Magnus von Horn

Cast: Magdalena Kolesnik, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julina Swiezewkski, Aleksandra Konieczna, Wiktoria Filus

Released: 25th of May 2021

The world of social influencers seems to be all glamorous and full of free stuff, but what we have learnt over the last few years isn’t quite what’s it cracked up to be. Cinema has been delving deep into this topic lately with Mainstream, Souad and The Columnist, to name a few. Magnus von Horn’s latest film, Sweat, is the next to explore this eery world.

Life for fitness guru Sylwia (Magdalena Kolesnik) is non-stop. The division between professional and personal is one that she can little afford. After all, as an influencer, her followers demand to know about every moment of her existence. But though she has a huge following, Sylwia appears to have no one close to her, a fact made clear in a teary online confession about being single. Coming so close to a major national TV appearance, could this revelation threaten her profile? Or is it, in fact, just another stunt by someone who recognises that bad publicity is an oxymoron in our mediated age?

Sweat is a profoundly unpleasant experience that looks deeper into the world of social influencing. Sylwia seems to have everything going for her, but all her social interactions are virtual. She has hordes of fans, but they never honestly care about how she is truly feeling. Magnus van Horn uses tight candid framing to his advantage as we explore Sylwia’s world. The emotional tone of the film is always lingering in the foreground through von Horn’s intricate lighting. When Sylwia is out in the world, everything is nice and bright, and once she is alone, it becomes a lot darker.

In recent times, social media films can be quite cliché, but von Horn’s deep-diving adds a much-needed layer to the genre. Sweat takes some unexpected turns when Sylwia comes across some of her more dedicated fans, and the reality of the situation becomes too much. The realisation of some of your fans can be pretty eye-opening and become too much. As her cries for help seem to be ignored, Sylwia turns to her family, who never seem to understand what she is going through entirely. Exploring the age divide in Poland gives a broader scope of how life has changed there.

Magdalena Kolesnik is a revelation a Sylwia. Within the modern era, she channels what it means to be a social influencer and the emotional ramifications of the job. The combination of Kolesnik’s natural approach to the role and von Horn’s delicate filmmaking delivers a profoundly moving experience. Sweat is an experience that sheds a lot of light on this new era of personalities without being melodramatic. There is a brutal sense of reality that is compelling and enlightening.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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