pieter van bogaert
a film by Mary Jimenez
The telephone was invented to connect people on a long distance. Today the telephone is mostly used to connect people who are already close. Our cell phones scan the direct environment to connect wireless. We call home when we’re nearly there. We have apps that show us where we are and apps that show us where our friends are. Distance is no longer needed. On the contrary: the closer we get, the smarter the phone.
A telephone is no longer only used to call. It is, among many other things, a recording device for sound and image. The most iconic image of our times comes from the cell phone: the selfie. To make a selfie, you need a distance: arm length. Closer than that, your face doesn’t fit the screen, the image gets blurred, your self becomes unrecognizable.
In her latest film, Mary Jimenez touches the limits of that distance. ‘Face Deal’ is the title. This reference to the face is no coincidence, of course, when you work with the most iconic, the most personal tool of our times. She uses her phone to film and to refilm. She scans the image, always coming closer, until it gets blurred. Her cell phone (self phone?) is the perfect tool for introspection. The perfect tool to descend into the abyss of blurred memories. And memories, or the loss thereof, is what this film is all about.
‘Face Deal’ is made in the months preceding the death of a father. It is made – we learn that through the ongoing conversation with the self(s) in the film – many years after the death of a mother and also some years after the death of a brother who was also an uncle. More than a person, a body, this film shows the self as a mental process. That is, after all, what the telephone was invented for: as a mental, not as a physical tool of transportation. And that is how this becomes the portrait of the self. It is the portrait of a blurred self, a self shared through notions as (homo)sexuality, psychiatry, family. They seem to be more than ever connected.
So what’s the deal? It’s a face deal. And we know – not in the least since the anti-psychiatry of Deleuze and Guattari – that a face can be many things. It is much more than the frontal part of a head. It can be a city, it can be a brain, it can be a memory. The face is a process. Show me yours, and I tell you who you are.
You will have to search in the brain(s) behind this film for its meaning. You will have to scan your way through the images, so fragile that they threaten to fall apart into pixels dancing on the screen like neurons in a brain. You will have to decide for yourself whose face deals with who.
That is how ‘Face Deal’ bridges the distance in space and in time. That is how this becomes the most beautiful film on this thing, called dementia. The most sensitive also, even at a distance of less than arm length.
A film by Mary Jimenez
Belgium, 2014, 29 min