Monday, June 22, 2015

Technotise: Edit & I

Technotise: Edit i ja; animated science-fiction, Serbia, 2009; D: Aleksa Gajić, S: Sandra Knežević, Nebojša Glogovac, Nikola Đuričko, Tatjana Đorđević, Igor Bugarski, Petar Kralj, Jelisaveta Sablić

Belgrade, 2074. Edit Stefanović is a girl who constantly fails at her psychology exams. She thus pays to illegally get a chip implanted in her body which will increase her memory. However, among her volunteer work is taking care of Abel, an autistic mathematical genius who can crack a formula for an all unifying energy formula. As she takes a glimpse at the incomprehensible formula, the chip inside calculates it, gets the result and becomes self-aware. She can from then on see the chip's manifestation in her mind, in the form of a man, and she calls him Edi. Edit persuades her horny boyfriend Bojan and other friends to help her escape from the government who are after her, seeing a huge potential in such knowledge. Edit falls into a coma, but Edi manages to extract the chip, which has developed nerves, from her body, and leave, which returns her life back to normal.

Even before the premiere, it was predictable that "Technotise: Edit & I" would attract a lot of attention for simply being the first ever Serbian feature length animated film, yet few could have predicted that it would also deserve attention even if it were not for that fact, since it simply a clever, fluent and original little film. Even though it swims across the 'cyber-punk' genre, "Technotise" continues further where other such 'acid' animated films for grown ups stop, such as the too grey "Heavy Metal" and "Ghost in the Shell", because it also offers a refreshing dose of humor and 'slice-of-life' elements, which make the story more human and natural. Director Aleksa Gajic offers a wide array of jokes: Bojan and his friend argue over whether he should have sex with a real girl once in a while, and not just with plastic robots; heroine Edit has troubles learning for her exams, and thus has a 'smart-chip' implanted in her, which enhances her IQ; grandpa has a small virtual rectangle on his nose which is a modern substitute for glasses; a TV commercial advertizes "powdered anti-mater" in a tetra pak...

The narrative is not always smooth, but has a few 'rough' edges and flaws. For instance, grandpa's story about how he saw an alien come out of Slobodan Milosevic's head is just plain bizarre and has no connection to the rest of the film; the CGI animation is competent, but its movements and colors are drab compared to classic animated achievements, and a product placement for one of the sponsors, a certain bank, is seen at least eight times in the film (though it cannot be avoided since this independent film may have not been financed without it). However, the main plot about the 'smart-chip' developing its own consciousness inside Edit has weight, and offers a few philosophical and thought provocative ideas (for instance, since the chip can control some of her movements, it poses the question how she can know for certain when ever she is doing something is her own free will). The film lacks a proper ending - the one gives seems 'abridged' - yet the refreshing heroine, who is cynical and nice at the same time, and a fine build-up of the story, with numerous comical scenes, give it a refreshing feeling, and also a feeling that no feature length animated films was so modern and good on the area of the former Yugoslavia since the '86 classic "The Elm-Chanted Forest".


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