The First Digital Native: "Repetra C" a short film by Sonja Berta
March 26, 2018
Filmmakers have a saying, “show it, don’t tell it.”. So when you are tasked with talking about a film, it is inherently difficult. If it were so easy to summarize the purpose and meaning of a film, the film itself wouldn't be necessary. We recently met with Sonja Berta to talk about her latest work Repetra C and while we had originally written a synopsis, we eventually decided to step back and ask ourselves, “Does a review and synopsis actually serve the medium?”. What we did take away from her work is that there is an element of media criticism that exists today and it is certainly present in Berta’s work. A reaction to how we are drained of identity and self, innocence and purpose. And it leaves us empty.
If you are at all familiar with Alexandro Jodorowsky’s films, you will see parallels in Sonja Berta’s film. A mystical journey that oscillates between the absurd, and the hyper-real. Jodorowsky’s work and the stories that he tells are as much an exercise in cinematography as they are in story and writing. Sonja Berta’s film is beautifully shot and is very much presented in the first person. You are the protagonist in this story and, as such, you are also implicated as an actor in the world that it creates.
"The internet has kind of become a god because it has become a layer on top of everything and is an untouchable thing that connects everybody, which is kind of creepy but it has a godlike touch to it."
Today, as we ponder the impact of the internet on our collective psyche, we are forced to evaluate how much of ourselves we share with the world and how that impacts our vulnerability. We spoke to Sonja about the genesis of the film and what the circumstances were that lead to her making of Repetra C. Berta's initial research for this film was through her travels and represented for her a powerful spirit-journey. It started while she was traveling in Spain with a community of hippies who were meditating and living off the land. She continued her journey and traveled to a monastery in Switzerland where she, as Repetra C confessed to a monk that when she prays she feels like she is having sex with god. While the Priest was "not a specialist on ecstasy" he rid her of her sins, and thought that "she was a totally lost soul". Berta believes that "The internet has kind of become a god because it has become a layer on top of everything and is an untouchable thing that connects everybody, which is kind of creepy but it has a god-like touch to it".
How meaningful can a life be when we create an anti-self online? This digital doppelganger has social congress but, are the interactions that occur on social media as valid a part of ourselves as the ones that we have IRL? We are starting to see the beast for what it is and the medium of film is an important element of how we expose the beast. A god and a devil. A friend and an enemy. So break the 4th wall. Sit down. "I promised you the great secret and I will not disappoint you. Is this the end of our adventure? Nothing has an end. We came in search of the secret of immortality. To be like gods. And here we are… mortals. More human than ever. If we have not obtained immortality, at least we have obtained reality. We began in a fairy tale and we came to life! But is this life reality? No. It is a film! Zoom back camera. We are images, dreams, photographs. We must not stay here! Prisoners! We shall break the illusion! This is Maya! Goodbye to the holy mountain. Real life awaits us." - Alejandro Jorodowsky, The Holy Mountain
Repetra C will be will be shown in the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition, 17 May – 30 September 2018. Preview on 17 May, York Art Gallery, UK. To watch click here