“Everybody loves it, nobody loves it,” reads the top of Sweat’s candy pink poster (“sweat” or “sweat” in English), on which Sylwia, Polish fitness influencer with 600,000 subscribers on Instagram, scrutinizes the photo of her behind on her phone. Addressing the subject of social networks and the world of influence, the reality of which is still poorly known, was an ambitious challenge. As soon as the 38-year-old director, “simple observer” despite a lot of screen time in his words, chooses the prism of a young and pretty online sports coach, he becomes risky. After a first film “slow, static and silent” on life after prison (Le Lendemain), the Swede Marcus Von Horn has therefore launched a challenge – not sporting but artistic -, and he is awarded a medal without hesitation. Without cynicism, the director offers us nothing other than the deeply human portrait of a woman facing her own loneliness. “I had no interest in watching her from above. We don’t need more cynicism today, I even think that we need the exact opposite.”We meet Sylwia, a blonde UFO molded in her garish sports clothes, during a fitness class that she dispenses in a shopping center in the Polish capital (where the director has lived for several years). Some of her students are crying with emotion, she displays a tense Colgate smile for the occasion, the scene is agitated, intense, almost uncomfortable for us, spectators. But when the lesson ends and we infiltrate Sylwia’s daily life, the film is refined to build itself around a restrained heroine. Like an Instagram subscriber fascinated by the banality of his daily life, the viewer of Sweat follows Sylwia for three days, during which she will experience a traumatic episode involving a stalker. The well-oiled machine of his precise daily life, where walks with his dog, unboxing and preparations of energizing milkshakes follow one another like Instagram stories, will then come to a halt. “I love the way influencers post on Instagram , sometimes up to sixty stories a day. It’s a very condensed narrative and I like the structure it gives to Sylwia’s life. You just have to follow her day and the story grows out of that repetition. An extraordinary event will arise, but the film is above all based on her daily life.” We therefore scrutinize the days of Sylwia, who evolves in her large glass apartment, a bit like Hitchcock’s Window on Yard, but without perversion, only empathy for this young woman who takes her job as a coach and influencer very seriously. meets, and this is the great success Sweat ite. Never has Marcus Von Horn made the long-awaited trial of social networks and those who live very comfortably from them, like Sylwia, and it is for this reason that he is the most relevant thing we have seen on the subject at cinema.”It’s a question of mutual respect. When you respect your character, you don’t treat him like an object, but you don’t excuse him either. We imagined Sylwia with her own worries and the rest, her work and her physical appearance, it’s just the packaging.” Sylwia is beautifully played by Magdalena Kolesnik, a Polish stage actress who wasn’t on social media before being tapped for the role. She trained for a year, diligently frequented gyms, and bonded with influencers. Above all, by being constantly filmed in very tight shots, she bears the weight of this oppressive camera, always too close and which leaves her no respite, like an invading smartphone, “or a labrador who does not know the notion of intimacy”. This protective camera reminds us of the one that filmed Bella in Pleasure, Ninja Thyberg’s first feature film. The director, also Swedish, probed the X industry to show us the reality of porn without reproducing traditional images. She placed her camera in such a way as to always preserve her heroine, an X star, to allow the spectator to identify with her, without voyeurism. at the best of social networks, the blonde UFO at the start of the film has disappeared to give way to a simply human young woman, whose loneliness we shared for three days of her life, or 1 hour 45 minutes of cinema. “I don’t didn’t want to present social networks as something good or bad. I just wanted the viewer to leave the cinema having felt close to this character. My path is to get him to think that he has something in common with her, in the end.” We will therefore not know if his Instagram account saved Sylwia from her loneliness or if he is responsible for her collapse. That’s not Sweat’s subject, and that’s fine.
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