Director: Magnus von Horn
Cast: Magdalena Kolesnik, Julian Swiezewski, Aleksandra Konieczna, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Tomasz Orpinski, Lech Lotocki, Magdalena Kuta, Dominika Biernat
Synopsis: A beloved fitness influencer seemingly has it all: thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals and photo spreads in magazines. However, as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities.
Sweat is the breakout second feature from Swedish writer-director Magnus von Horn [The Here After (2015)]. It is a shocking glimpse beneath the candy-coloured surface of internet celebrity.
Beloved fitness influencer Sylwia [Magdalena Koleśnik – Warsaw’44 (2014), in a star-making role] apparently has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle.
Magnus von Horn’s impressive film explores three eventful days in Sylwia’s life, days which are non-stop for the fitness guru and archetypal Instagram star. She hosts huge workout sessions in large shopping malls dispensing advice like: “Work your own body – not the one you want” to hundreds of eager young women fans. On waking each day she records short videos reminding them that: “The only bad workout is the one you don’t do.”
The division between the professional and the personal is one that she can little afford. As an influencer, her 600,000 followers demand to know about every moment of her existence. But Sylwia appears to have no one close to her, a fact she has made clear in a teary online confession about being single. Coming so close to a major national TV appearance, could this revelation threaten her profile? Or is it in fact just another stunt by someone who recognises that bad publicity is an oxymoron in our mediated age?
Von Horn’s cool, distanced point of view captures Sylwia’s world of neon and spandex to chilling effect. But as the film progresses, it questions any easy judgement about Sylwia’s profession and life choices. Sweat is one of the first films to engage with the Insta-age in a fully meaningful way, and Magdelena Koleśnik gives an outstanding performance that totally nails the public/private gulf at the heart of Instagram celebrity.
As Sylwia starts to share more and more online, amid rising pressure from her concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans, she is forced to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle and face up to the age-old question about the price of fame.
On Curzon Home Cinema
Images courtesy of Curzon Home Cinema