duration 3:42 min
quasi-HD, color, sound
“Now that I know, what do I do?” shows a man who cries over the contents of a letter.
This man’s performance is serious. His pain is believable. His tears, however, false.
Not merely are they false in presumably being a product of some special effect, but false in being wildly inappropriate to their context. These tears do not quite belong to the same world as the man and his feelings: they are grotesque in form and excessive in volume, out of proportion to the naturalistic (or realistic) way the man experiences his misery.
At the basis of this work is a clash of sensibilities – resulting in something that is in essence – by any standards of film language at least – believable, but contaminated with an alien element. The film asks for a willingness in the viewer to set doubts aside and feel empathy for another human being. Which is perfectly fine at first, if it wasn’t for the unexpected waterworks that rather complicate maintaining the assumed attitude. The viewer has no option but to be a good sport, reassert his position and perhaps in ultimate response classify the work as a prank.
But regardless of the position taken and however briefly, we are left in the uncomfortable position of watching a man in pain, and laughing at him. Knowing that at the core, and at the end of that comic downpour, is something we all relate to very well.
The film displays an interest in the portrayal of emotional pain, and particularly in the image of the crying man – a subject (certainly in the Western world) surrounded by sentiments of discomfort and embarrassment. The work inevitably brings up Bas Jan Ader’s film “I’m too sad to tell you” (1970), a seminal piece in Dutch conceptual art, showing the artist crying, ambiguously revealing various degrees of self-awareness.
“Now that I know (that,) what do I do? “ is a line taken from the Charles Schultz comic strip Peanuts. A comic that takes place in a non-adult world to explore adult themes of depression, loneliness and confusion. The exaggerated gesture of crying is in part inspired by the depictions in Schultz’ legendary work.
Actor: Stefan Rudolf
Director/Post-Production: Fons Schiedon
Practical FX: Brendan Flynt, Filmvilla
FX Make-up: Inga Ross
Special thanks to
Angelique Spaninks, MU