Oaxaca FilmFest review in full.

PLASTIC FINGERS is a visual schizophrenic representation of the inner self-criticism that plagues artists and the silent pain they endure for their art.


Sebastian is a mime who is tormented by the spirit of his demanding and disapproving mother, every step of the way, as he tries to entertain the public, he's tortured by her constant taunting and bullying, telling him that he will never amount to nothing, that every success no matter how small was not earned, that he is a failure. Sebastian tries to keep doing what he loves, despite the constant attacks and abuse directed at him. In the end, he must finally get rid of the ghost of his mother if he wants to be free.


PLASTIC FINGERS is a condensation of what an artist, a true artist must endure in order to stay true to himself. Let's break it down: Sebastian is a street artist, a mime, his art won't make him rich nor famous, but it is in the end his art, his passion, it's what makes him happy, he already looks like a grown man, so he must have been doing this for a while now.His mother must have passed away a while now, but she most definitely did not approve of Sebastian's choice of life, she projects an image of arrogance, of wealth and privilege. It is possible that Sebastian used to belong to a family of means,but he fell out of favor once he took the life of a street artist. Being a mime is a representation of his quiet frustration, only his mother gets to speak, gets to verbally abuse him and torment him, but Sebastian cannot even speak in his own defense not even scream if he wants to let out some steam. Sebastian isn't even particularly talented, but this is his art none the less,he practices his craft and despite this, his mother keeps tormenting and criticizing him. But this isn't a literal ghost, this is just the manifestation of Sebastian's own self-criticism, he's his very own worst critic, his dissatisfaction with his own work is not an objective assessment of his own abilities, but rather lives with the constant trauma inflicted by constant criticism and psychological abuse inflicted by his mother. Her words live perpetually engraved in his mind, a constant and incessant reminder of what a loser he is, despite carrying on no matter what. In the end, this is a relatable suffering that all artists must go through, parents at times can be extremely fearful for their children's future. Sometimes this fear is founded in love, other times like in the case of Sebastian's mother, fear comes from a different place. His mother is the kind of woman who must have worried about status and appearances. Having a child becoming a mime must have broken her on the inside, but not for fear of her child's future, but in fear of what others would say of her and of her grand standing status.For Sebastian in the end, he tries to get rid of his mother's ghost, to let out all the kept feelings he has been harboring fora lifetime. For a moment it appears as if he has successfully exorcised the psychological ghost of his mother, and just when he thinks he can move on, he stumbles with the baggage where he keeps his mother's memories. He will never be able to leave his mother's ghost behind, her constant criticism is his own criticism. It will be with him forever.


PLASTIC FINGERS as directed by David J Paradisé is full of blown-out colors that pop out of the screen, the color correction here provides the film with that sensation of living in a heightened reality, it's Sebastian's world as seen through his eyes, reflecting his unabashed optimism. The film flows at dynamic pace, it takes us from one abstract confrontation to the next when dealing with the ghost of Sebastian's mother, each confrontation is used to reveal more about Sebastian and what obstacles he had to overcome when his mother was alive. The film is not quite experimental nor surreal, but rather delves into magical realism at times, even if it's obvious that Sebastian's pain has developed into severe schizophrenia. The performances are theatrical, broad, but they couldn't be subdued, they had to be able to pop out of the screen the same way the colors do. Expression is one of the themes in the film, and thus the performers had to be as wide and broad as possible, but they never overreact, it's a tricky thing to pull-off to deliver performances of this kind but Kiki Kendrick and Francisco Bassignana deliver their performances with hints to their mother/son contentious relationship as well as the silent torment that Sebastian endures. This is a film that understands the pain that artists must endure for their art and the very personal tragedy that represents the disapproval of a loved one, a visual representation of what goes on inside the hearts and minds of those who suffer for their art.

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