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aka Reconstruction of a Dream with Balloonmen
Experimental film/live performance.
2009. [Variable duration]. Dutch (with subtitles).
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Below are stills from the various scenes, and excerpts from a recording of one of the live performances.

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A ronin Superninja tries to recall a strange dream he had. He decides to puzzle the dream back together by filming re-enactments of his vague dream memories. Having no budget for professional actors, he decides to just paint faces onto balloons and films them instead. “Balloons are not so different from real actors. A thin fragile artificial skin, empty inside and with a crude expression painted onto them. They say what others want to hear, but balloons at least will shut the fuck up when they aren’t supposed to speak. Balloons are perfect. I won’t have to censor myself in retelling my dream. I can make balloons do anything; even the most unspeakable of things.”
Slowly becoming obsessed with translating his dream-images into film, Superninja’s cruelty towards his balloon-subjects grows out of control. The events enacted for the film begin to show striking similarities to the daily lives of Superninja and his friends. When a doppelgänger Superninja-balloon appears in the film, the filmmakers become aware of the fact that they themselves, too, are mere balloons. Under the influence of a mysterious new crew member called Mr. Von Nazareth, Superninja takes the sudden self-awareness of his balloonoid body (and those of his crew-members including the beautiful Lilith) into a disturbing direction…

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these are the principal roles

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quantum physics for... balloons

quantum physics for… balloons

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in the studio

in the studio

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Balloon-men has a… special… look and feel, motivated by two central ideas (that are reflected in the actual story). The first starting point was to make a movie as fast and cheaply as possible. This ambition was inspired, on one hand, by an entire history of amateur filmmaking (from ancient super-8 home movies, cheesy shot-on-video horror to, of course, the Youtube-boom) and on the other hand by a more self-aware trash-film-culture, with heroes like John Waters (Multiple Maniacs) and David O Reilly (RGBXYZ and Octocat). These influences will, by the way, be blatantly recognisable in Balloon-men.

The cheap, fast and dirty way of working, in which even actors are replaced with balloon-heads with faces, speaking through computer-voices, led to a second concept; that of a dynamic film. In line with the themes of non-linear dream logic within the “plot”, it felt appropriate to shoot Balloon-men as fragments, separate scenes, that would be assembled live during screenings of the film, making each showing slightly or drastically different from the previous one. After all, the ultra-cheap production values allowed for a scene to be shot and edited in just a few hours, even moments, before the screening itself.

At the end of the day I guess Balloon-men is about the urge to avoid self-censorship. Its pretentiousness must be constantly negated by its dumbness and vice versa (?) and when it, as such, gets stuck in an endless loop of justifying both these levels of poor taste (which in itself is a symptom of uncertainty, and thus self-censorship) it will have to escape from this loop through its form. It falls apart and reassembles itself until every social human preoccupation is exorcised. This sounds like it wants to be pretty deep, but that’s just you projecting depth onto a rubber surface, expanded into a sphere by the void.

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