TL;DR – An interesting experimental film that hits that overlap between film and a technology demonstration
I have seen quite a few films that you could call experimental in my time but today might take the cake as one of the more weird concepts that I have ever seen. Something that at first sight is deceptively simple but then it is clear a lot of work has gone into making it come together.
Familiar Strangers might be also one of the shortest films I have reviewed, clocking into only four minutes. However, that is just the right amount of time for you to process what you are seeing on the screen. Which is row upon row of actors faces apparently rendered using deepfake technology while Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach plays in the background.
Putting aside my reservations of the technology, which are many, this was a very odd film to watch. It felt like you were dragged into the uncanny valley at every turn as these faces run past you. However, now and again you would get ripped out of that valley by “oh heck that is 100% Ron Pearlman”. You then sort of start this guessing game matching the faces to the celebrities.
As far as the technology goes, it did seem to have more success with men than the women, I think the lack of hair bar what is immediately around the face means beards and stubble works best. Also, I found the old celebrates worked better than the younger because I think you could see them emoting more.
In the end, do we recommend Familiar Strangers? Well look, I am not sure, but then it is only four minutes long and you can now watch it on YouTube, so give it a whirl and have a look. If you liked Familiar Strangers, we would also recommend the Quantification Trilogy.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Familiar Strangers
Directed by – Murat Sayginer