In the spirit of the times, Bertrand Bonello created Coma for his daughter. It takes place during the era of pandemic lockdown. A teenage girl lives between her bedroom’s four walls. As boredom and loneliness seep in, she invents scenarios with her Barbie dolls, and in her dreams. But soon, it’s hard to tell which are dreams, which are reality, and which are the Barbieland soap-opera.
As many of us did during numerous lockdowns since 2020, the young lady relies heavily on her phone and laptop as a connection to the outside world. But what happens on a small screen doesn’t always translate reality accurately. Though the adolescent is the protagonist, congrats are due to Mlle. Coma (played by Julia Faure) for wearing so many hats. Her supporting role is at once educator, friend, foe, and gives the film its spin from creepy to humorous.
The film may be called Coma after the surname of this character, but coma also brings to mind a somnolent state we are not fully in control of. At times, this “limbo” is very similar to the act of trusting Youtube vloggers and Instagram influencers. It is a space where new things can be invented, and reality can be broken. In such a manner, the story weaves together three elements and makes them nearly interchangeable: the experiences of ennui, horror, and social media.
While bored, we might turn our attention to the Internet. It shows us horrible things, but we watch them like a trainwreck. As with horror movies, if we watch too many, we become jaded. Bored. And the cycle continues. This correlation becomes an absurdist stream of consciousness. The mix of live action, puppet animation, rotoscoping, and CCTV-like footage is like watching someone else’s mental channel-surfing. It questions free will. Are we puppets? Is the world controlling events and our reactions to them? The pandemic is a pretext, but the main topic Coma touches upon is the philosophy of the Self, and how we interact with those around us.
Coma – October 14th, 2022 at 9:30 PM.
https://nouveaucinema.ca/ for location and ticketing details.