New StrainsDirected by Artemis Shaw, Prashanth Kamalakanthan
Cast: Artemis Shaw, Prashanth Kamalakanthan
Special Jury Award, 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Filmmakers Artemis Shaw and Prashanth Kamalakanthan play Kallia and Ram, a screwball couple arriving in New York for a quick getaway just as lockdown begins. Already on the verge of breakup, their relationship strains as Ram copes with his anxiety by trying to become a rapper, and Kallia’s sexual frustration mounts. It’s no help that the disease that’s spreading all across the world is a “new strain” with the primary symptom of making everybody who gets it stupid.
Shot on Hi8 in a surreally luxe apartment, this gleefully low-fi comedy is at once a sci-fi satire and a time capsule of the weird circle of hell that was the early days of the pandemic. Shaw and Kamalakanthan highlight the bored, paranoid, sheer idiocy of the time, and the havoc it wreaked on the people stuck in pods with each other.
The millennial great grandkid of Buster Keaton’s couple-against-nature One Week, NEW STRAINS evokes a similar DIY inventiveness with its mix of absurdist wit and slapstick and the sense there’s something actually cute about the whole universe trying to fuck up a young couple.
– Lev Kalman
Filmmaker scheduled to attend.
Screening to be followed by Q&A.
Directed by Julian Castronovo
Women audition to play a robot, but a scream is their only line.