Monday, April 30, 2012

1722 - The Mechanical Bride

Saw this at Hot Docs (no one urinated in this theatre - yeah!)  There was a short that played before called Meaning of Robots that was absolutely hilarious and wonderful.  It was more or less a mechanical hoarder who made little robot sex dolls that he liked to make have sex with each other.  It sounds stupid and immature, but you have to see the guy - Michael Sullivan I believe, to understand the awesomeness of it. 
Now, the film at hand.  I'm glad I stuck around for the Q&A to hear the director because it answered a big question for me in terms of the quality of the film.  It was clearly made by someone who was an academic first and then, well maybe, a filmmaker second.  The film is about man's fascination with inanimate sexual objects ranging from Real Dolls to Artificial Intelligence.  She mentioned that the people that were into one or the other were vastly different people.  Shame she had to tell us that and couldn't find a way to make us know that through the film.  It's got an interesting subject, but the filming itself takes away in how boring it is.  It feels like it's meant to be a piece on an 80's newscast, rather than a documentary.  I mean… it's shot in 4:3 and not to be a nerd about it - but NOTHING shoots in 4:3 anymore.  I don't want to say that the visuals pulled me out of the film, but what they didn't help me do was really get immersed.
The film itself doesn't really feel like it's about anymore in particular - it's more about talking about a subject.  I'm not suggesting that there isn't a moral to it, but I never understand what the point of the documentary is.  Or what they were really trying to say about any of this, and that's what stops this from being a really solid documentary. 
I actually found myself half-way through wishing that the director of Meaning of Robots had directed this film instead.  I think it's a fine piece, but I don't think it really, ultimately, means anything to me.  It's sadly a bit forgettable.  It's got an exciting premise, and some interesting characters, but it also feels a bit easy to show people that are obsessed with sex dolls and robots.  Of course they're going to be a bit quirky or zany - I'm not saying it's like kicking a retarded puppy, but I never really got a sense of who those people were or why THEY were having relations with these dolls.  Other people speculated about it, but documentaries shouldn't be able speculation.
As I said, it's not a bad film, but ask me about it in a year and I'll probably forgot that I even saw it.

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