14 votes

The hunger

2 comments

  1. kfwyre
    Link
    I love Natalie's pseudo-dialectics where she creates characters based on cultural archetypes and puts them in conversation, so I was thrilled to see her return to that format for this video. I...

    I love Natalie's pseudo-dialectics where she creates characters based on cultural archetypes and puts them in conversation, so I was thrilled to see her return to that format for this video. I hope she does more of these in the future -- she has a talent for writing and filming them.

    I'll put the rest of my thoughts in a spoiler fold, just so people who want to go into the video without foreknowledge can do so.

    Spoilers

    When I saw that the runtime was less than an hour, I thought maybe Natalie was re-condensing her work, going back to some of her shorter, more focused videos of the past. Her commentary is always insightful, but I feel like a few of her more recent videos have been subject to a form of commentary creep where she keeps adding in additional layers or elements that, while certainly important to the topic, end up adding too much heft to her videos and serve to muddle some of her theses.

    Then I saw the "To Be Continued..." and realized I was wrong, lol.

    Also (and I say this with full love and admiration for Natalie and what she does), following up with Part 2s has, historically speaking, not been a strength of hers. I'm hoping that's not the case here!

    With regards to the video, I really appreciated the way it delivered on its theme. The opening conversation involves Virginia, a sanctimonious Christian, and most viewers of her content are likely primed to identify with Justine's character who's tired of Virginia's bullshit. Lofty claims about meaning and faith and wholeness ring hollow, and the entire dialectic paints her as both lying to herself and engaging in some element of self-harm in pursuit of a faith that, from the outside, looks devoid of authenticity.

    Then the video takes an abrupt turn into Justine using Void, which effects a similar hollowness. As a drug it's deliberately devoid of authenticity, and Justine knows this yet engages anyway. We're of course meant to empathize with Justine's experience, but the obvious parallel extends to Virginia as well in retrospect. I don't think Natalie does this as an absolution for Virginia as a whole but more to point out that there's a similar root -- The Hunger -- in both of their situations, and both arrive at different resolutions that are at the same time both illusory and, somehow, genuinely meaningful.

    We can laugh at Virginia's lies to herself, but when Justine is doing the same thing at the end of the video ("I'll quit after one -- more -- drop"), it's harrowing.

    One of Natalie's greatest strengths, and probably the main reason I always keep coming back to her videos, is that she sidesteps dogmatic interpretations of social issues and instead pokes and prods at the much messier human elements underneath. This video offers a lot to say on that, not just directly, but by implication as well.

    10 votes
  2. vegai
    Link
    Incredible, even for ContraPoints's standard.

    Incredible, even for ContraPoints's standard.

    6 votes