Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Consuming Contemporary’

Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Consuming Contemporary’

Consuming Contemporary follows Sunchicha, an older woman who likes to go to at events popping up all over Skopje, Macedonia. Some these spaces are bare. The few other patrons include older millennials. People who can fit in the bar scene just as they do in these galleries. It reminds me of my own experiences with such spaces. My light case of Asperger’s would make me go past one artwork to another inattentively. That’s until my friends made me contemplate these works the way Sunchicha and the other attendees do. The way characters in narrative films do as the process details of each image. Whether they’re static visual pieces or films, they’re engaging these attendees with what was happening in Europe during that time.

Artworks then reflected the refugee crisis in Europe, and her reaction to these works is surprising. There’s of course, the coincidence in these artworks being about exclusion, a system she herself does experience. The documentary short switches between the fluorescently lit gallery spaces to the romantically lit streets of Skopje. It captures Sunchicha ride one cab after another, revealing her back story. If the artworks and films she watches capture the new world, she’s very much part of the old.

During an interview scene, Sunchicha reveals that her mother was an arts professor. She took art exams to get into school and perhaps do something with that interest. But she decides to live on her mother’s pension, leading to her physical deterioration. These unconventionally shot interview segments show so much about how most people perform class. She does the same, although in unconventional ways. The movie, then, shows her ideas in opposition to others, both from her family and the art world’s gatekeepers. When this is over, I hope the artworld includes everyone, people like her.

Consuming Contemporary is part of Hot Docs’ World Showcase Shorts.

  • Release Date: 5/31/2020
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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