My Film with Andrei Review by Felix Ruckert
In “My Film with Andrei Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Document a Sex Party”
director Ayoto Ataraxia portrays a group of young people around Berlin’s hedonistic bubble and sex-positive movement, who are about to organize an orgy on the occasion of their friend Andrei’s birthday. Shot between two lockdowns in the socially cautious summer of 2021, we observe Andrei, Raoul, Fabian, Charlotte, Jenny, Mathilde – and often also the author himself – hanging in their shared kitchens, bedrooms and mobile homes, fooling around at small festivals in the green surroundings of the city and strolling on the expanses of Tempelhofer Feld.
To be blunt, the orgy does not take place – at least not in this film. Ataraxia’s view of the confusion and forlornness of its protoganists is postcoital and marked by melancholy and desperation that sometimes turns into cynicism. Its heroines are both dramatic and banal, opulent and cheap, just like the cell phone cameras with which the whole film was shot. Despite or perhaps, because of the simplicity of the technique and stylistic means, the author succeeds again and again in creating powerful and vivid images that often tell more than the strained and often seemingly endless monologues of the protagonists. Ataraxia offers them a welcome stage on which they present unfiltered reflections on love, life, the general state of humanity and, in particular, their specific situation of young males in a post-feminist, neoliberal Europe, devastated by the plague. Amorous relationships, sexual constellations, orgasm frequencies, party locations, as well as various life styles models are discussed in detail. The young men who mostly conduct these monologues are both touching and disturbing. They are beyond conventional masculinity, yet still enjoy all of its privileges. Handsome, educated and financially independent thanks to Bitcoin and digital nomadism they struggle between narcissism and nihilism, between hope and fear. They are of system-compatible flexibility and availability, although at the same time they cultivate the attitude of rebels and dropouts. But the achievements of emancipation, such as the company of financially and emotionally independent companions and seemingly unlimited sexual freedom, also seem to have made them losers, at once liberating and robbing them of sense and sensuality, reducing them to find meaning – and childlike pleasure – in counting orgasms.
With this generation, the patriarchy is certainly drowning, but there is still no promised land in sight.
The most touching moments in the film are the question marks at the end of the sentences, the moments of silence and pause, often accompanied by somber string sounds. (Also created on Ataraxia’s laptop. who also draws as a musician and composer). In these uncertainties and instabilities lies the power of the film, showing Ataraxia’s high art of endurance and compassion, his affection and tenderness for a masculinity in the process of detoxification, a masculinity that has lost and must eventually pass away.
Felix Ruckert / January 22