Filmmaker Eduardo “Teddy” Williams’s inventive shorts and highly acclaimed feature debut The Human Surge (2016) have positioned him as one of the most exciting directors working today among audiences and critics alike. His newest film, The Human Surge 3 (there is no Human Surge 2) expands upon the themes — internet culture, the aimlessness of youth, global connectivity — explored in his debut while making excellent use of a 360-degree camera to bring together several characters and locations from across the globe into the same frame. On the occasion of its presentation at the 61st New York Film Festival as part of Currents — a space reserved for innovative new voices in filmmaking — we’re thrilled to present Parsi, a collaboration between Williams and Argentinian poet Mariano Blatt.
In Parsi, Blatt recites his poem “No es” (It isn’t) over a montage consisting of images from daily life in Guinea-Bissau. In step with the poem’s mantric repetition of similes that begin with the phrase “Parece que” (Seems like), the short develops into a blurry portrait of Bissau and its people as it jumps from one quotidian scene to another. Rejecting the old norms of ethnographic filmmaking that distinguish between filmmaker and subject, Williams produces a film wherein he and the people he is filming are one in the same: impressive and indecipherable amid a mass of moving images.
“Maybe the way people make ethnographic work has changed recently. I’m sure there are people labeling themselves as ethnographic who make things that are not separating themselves from their subjects, doing that ‘me here, you there’ thing. I feel like I’m in a similar state of mind as the actors, and hopefully also similar to the one the spectators will be in—knowing and then not knowing; accepting confusion; feeling lost.’” EDUARDO WILLIAMS
According to Williams, Parsi came about organically following a “very free” proposal from Blatt to make a film about his poem. The short marks Williams’ first use of a 360-degree camera, which gives the film its kaleidoscopic look. “I did it myself; it was very homemade,” Williams said. His signature DIY-feel is both charming and inspiring, recalling early Internet discourses that figured technological prowess and self-actualization went hand-in-hand.
In 2016, Williams won the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for The Human Surge. Since then, he received the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists in 2019, he was named the 2020-2021 Fulton Fellow at the Harvard Film Study Center, and earned the CHANEL NEXT PRIZE in 2022. This year, he premiered A Very Long Gif, an observational journey through his digestive system that he filmed using a swallowed pill camera, at the Berlin International Film Festival and The Human Surge 3 at Locarno. Blatt was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1983, and began self-publishing poetry in 2006. After developing a YouTube audience, Blatt co-founded the independent press Blatt & Ríos with Damián Ríos. More recently, Blatt co-founded De Parado, an independent press dedicated to publishing gay narratives with Francisco Visconti.
Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.