This year’s Swedish-Polish film “Sweat” by director and screenwriter Magnus von Horn is a drama about a fitness instructor who, although popular and living a life many would call ideal today, experiences deep insecurities and emotional breakdowns caused by loneliness.
The plot, if even existent in this film, is very simple. An ensured, very beautiful Sylwia, young influencer and fitness trainer, feels lonely and is wishing for someone by her side. However, we cannot say that finding a boyfriend is her goal since she does nothing to meet someone, fall in love, or create a deep relationship with. Sylwia does have a real problem though – a stalker that masturbates while watching her from a building parking lot. When she calls him out, he sends an apology video. This was potentially a plot that could have woken up the audience by making it fear for the protagonist’s life, but that did not happen. Therefore, “Sweat” is a two-hour depiction of a Barbie girl who proposes that beautiful and rich people too cry and have problems. Sylwia’s loneliness is pointed out at the start when she watches her previous video in which she weeps for a boyfriend. If the film was just a set of Sylwia’s stories, it would be shorter and still getting the point across, since she does in real life what she films on social networks, giving us a constant repetition.
I believe “Sweat” was created with the idea of exposing the dream job of an Instagram era and showing how today’s semi-famous people can also have dysfunctional relationships with parents, social anxiety, love troubles, insecurities, or life-threatening stalkers. The problem is that this idea has been out there for some time now, so it is unclear what the film revealed to us. Sylwia, as a character, is often in a slump, with no goal or will to change. Simply – she is displeased.
Regarding style, the most representative is the camera, whose movements seem to want to get under every character’s skin, sometimes being even too close in their faces. The meaning behind it is clear – the camera is trying to enmesh in their lives and expose them, perhaps even magnified. The music is mostly of a new wave genre which is melancholic, but of a good rhythm – like Sylwia.
Filip Gotovac, participant, Film critics' workshopBack to...