Hugo Cornellier took a selfie a day from the age of seven until he was nineteen and then turned it into a selfie-movie. And in the process turned himself into a YouTube celebrity.
There’s something quite haunting about it, not just in the stop-motion documentary of a boy’s transition into manhood in a self-regarding, accelerated age – and the way he can’t make up his mind whether or not a beard really suits him – but also the way that a selfie-movie turns everyone else in your life into a blur, the only constant being your eyes gazing into the lens. Or is it the abyss?
Oh, and the other constant being the swivelly IKEA computer chair everyone has these days.
It reminds me of the wonderful 1960 movie version of HG Wells’ The Time Machine, starring Rod Taylor, the original Jon Hamm, in an Edwardian swivelly chair that travels through time. As his horrified friend with the comedy ‘Scotch’ accent warns him:
“If that machine can do what you say it can, destroy it George before it destroys YOU!”
But of course, as Mr Corneillier’s selfie time machine demonstrates, it’s already far, far too late for us to save ourselves. From ourselves.
I guess it’s pure coincidence but there is a sequence in Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning “The Great Beauty” in which a friend of the protagonist, Jep, walks with him around an exhibition of photographs of a boy who also took a photograph of himself (oh, alright – a “selfie”) each and every day. And, btw, “The Great Beauty” is a masterpiece of Italian cinema – at least, in my opinion and in the opinions of a galaxy of critics and reviewers.
I gazed long into the abyss. And the abyss gazed back at me, and then quickly looked over my shoulder for something more interesting.
Wasn’t it Nietzche who said:
“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
? Friedrich Nietzsche