And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine (2023)

Directed by Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck

From the first camera to 45 billion cameras worldwide today, the visual sociologist filmmakers widen their lens to expose both humanity's unique obsession with the camera's image and the social consequences that lay ahead.

Seattle International Film Festival 2023: Film #14

My God, I never want to see the face of the Donald Trump that big ever again. More seriously, though, I quickly run into a set of complicated feelings when trying to score this futurewave film. As in, if I were to watch it on my laptop as a video essay on Vimeo or YouTube, I would somehow rate it higher in my subjective estimation. But when I watch the exact same film in a cinema within the context of a film festival, I can't help but feel this is a weaker piece of art. What is the source of this internalised artistic hierarchy, and why does mine prejudice fictional narrative cinema over the documentary form... and then the documentary over the lowly video essay, despite the many stimulating hours of watching them?

But that's probably the entire point of this film. As in, these are questions that And The King Said... both implicitly and explicitly poses, and despite the lack of an overt statement it is trying to prove, it is in equal measure entertaining, informative and thought-provoking.