Under Construction

Does the anthropological filmmaker have to reveal the construction of his film? Does he need to expose his tricks of the trade in order for truth to be revealed, or is doing so often merely a performative act? And is a constructed reality any less real than a spontaneous one? These intriguing questions are at the heart of this video essay by Dutch filmmaker and photographer Julia Sterre Schmitz. Weighty questions, but they are approached lightheartedly in this slightly irreverent effort.


True to the spirit of its subject, the video essay itself is candidly reflexive. It alerts the viewer to its construction by letting us listen in on the crafting of the narration – including mispronunciations, the multiple tries to get a line delivery right, and crudely mixed elevator music. Julia Sterre Schmitz may seem to engage in nothing more than jovial banter with the voice over artist, but their remarks ultimately enhance the central theme of this video essay. The result is a short piece that is both mischievous and thought-provoking, and leaves one craving for more of these reflexive reflections.