Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘How Much Do You Love Yourself?’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘How Much Do You Love Yourself?’

Nina Blažin How Much Do You Love Yourself? is a film with noticeable moments of beauty, and a film that will also likely make you feel like vomiting on occasion too. Seemingly, Blažin strives to convery a multitude of emotions, but never seems to pass judgment upon her characters or those who would judge them, a tactic which may ultimately prove unfulfilling to some viewers.

The subjects of this film are Viki and Damjan, a pair of homeless, anarchistic, heroin addicted, urban explorers and photographers, who are madly in love. Throughout the film, we witness them shoot-up, explore abandoned locales, and at one point, make a delicious looking dinner. Cinematographer Darko Heric’s camera remains steadfastly observational throughout the film, yet, routinely features extreme close-ups of pores and drug spoons burnt on a flame. Part of Blažin’s judgement less cinema stems from how distant these two subjects feel. It also seems difficult to get a sense of the larger systematic issues at play. Why these two feel the need to exist on the margins of society, or any of the sociopolitical conditions of Slovenia (where the film is set) are questions that remain essentially ignored, and may have provided greater context for the audience.

The question How Much Do You Love Yourself? also remains unanswered here. Maybe the answer is hidden deep within the elliptical nature of this film, which has been aptly described in promotional material as “stream of unconsciousness.” Or maybe there isn’t meant to be an answer, and the aimlessness is designed to exemplify the mindest of Vike and Damjan. Either way, I found myself wishing for more concrete understandings to augment the difficult nature of this film.

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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