It qualifies as an old-fashioned touch that 57,000 Kilometers Between Us is shot on 35mm film, since it belongs to the burgeoning online-life genre where characters are consumed and often defined by webcams, vlogs, and role-playing games. French teen every-girl Nat (Marie Burgun) and family are in thrall to her obsessive stepfather’s recording of every meal, outing, and occasion with his mini-cam for uploading to the household’s website; even Stepdad’s breathy, pre-coital whisperings of “je t’aime” to needy, emotionally masochistic Mom (Florence Thomassin) are staged for electronic consumption. (Disappointment follows when viewer emails read “perverse” and “Get your tits out.”) Nat copes by retreating to her garishly cluttered room for gaming and chatter with a gravely ill boy (Hadrien Bouvier) in a hospital, whose wealthy mother keeps her own monitor shut off so she doesn’t have to look at her dying son’s face. Delphine Kreuter, a prize-winning photographer directing her first feature, regularly keeps her handheld shots tight on the actors’ pores and gets sufficiently charming portrayals from young Burgun and Bouvier to frequently camouflage the script’s Sundancey quirk—not, however, when Nat’s transsexual natural father dons a chador to stash shoplifted goods or joins a pack of fellow glam MTFs for a boating excursion scored to a Dolly Parton cover of Bread’s “If.” Similarly, Mathieu Amalric’s glorified cameo as a thumbsucking baby-behavior fetishist is evidence that Kreuter uses her silly streak to enforce simplistic narrative roles: adolescent and gender-dysphoric cybernauts cool, all others ludicrous.
57,000 Kilometers Between Us @ the Tribeca Film Festival
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.