"Delivers a refreshingly even-handed assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of online culture. " - Slant
This acclaimed documentary paints an incandescent portrait of a young woman who has gained an online following for her thought-provoking exhibitionism and socially-transgressive, sexually-ambiguous lifestyle.
A self-described drifter, Eva is a Berlin-based Italian exhibiting her private life to such an extent online as to have blurred the distinction between performance art and reality. This is not the least of the boundaries she feels constrained by or aims to transgress. Despite her resolutely anti-work ethos, she earns money mostly as an unapologetic sex worker and occasional fashion model. Although she resists labels, she considers herself queer, feminist, and anti-capitalist, but is also confortable living with contradiction. Her interest lies primarily in her project, a mixture of art and promotion and a cross-medium interrogation of identity expressed through blogging, photography, music, and interactive social media that has made her an online icon. Her subject is the self, and the continuity or lack of continuity thereof.
Eva started blogging at the age of 14 as an instrument of self expression, after having been sexually exploited by a family friend, among others, in her provincial Italian community. Now 25, Eva seems to have perfected a lifestyle that is both insouciant and meticulously curated for her growing Instagram and Tumblr audience, captured with poetic sensibilities that resonate within the mediums. Episodically changing her androgynous physical appearance, Eva's mutable search for identity reflects an emerging online subculture wherein self discovery is chronicled publicly and in confrontation with social expectations around gender, sexuality, status and shame. Her display of fragmented personalities offers validation to an online audience for whom the concept of a fixed identity feels like an anachronism. However, the transgressive attitude that is critical to her appeal also has a self-destructive side.
Modeling her stylized, multilayered documentary on Eva’s online persona, Pia Hellenthal lets her protagonist recount her most intimate musings and stories to reflect on the subjective values of a life both lived and lived-to-be-documented online. Alongside, Hellenthal excavates the blogosphere to derive insights from a fascinating range of reactions to Eva’s postings. Although socially transgressive and concentrated in novel technological mediums, Eva's project, at its core, is perhaps best thought of as a contemporary, self-conscious exhibit of the "dramaturgical approach" to human interaction.
WARNING: This documentary contains drug use, sexual content, and graphic nudity.
84 Minutes | English, Italian and German, with English subtitles.