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Liquid Architecture

average rating is 2 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Sep 11, 2023

Film Reviews
Liquid Architecture
Directed by:
Maciej Sonski
Written by:
Maciej Sonski

Liquid Architecture is an artistic short film from student film-maker, Maciej Sonski. Coming in at just under five minutes the film takes us on a short journey through the streets of an unnamed city while also being interspersed with extended images of parts of Sonski’s naked body. Described by Sonski as “an experimental film engrossing[?!] a visual confluence of abstract forms of skin, light and architecture” it’s obvious that he wants everyone to take him and his art seriously, even to the point of explaining on his film’s Facebook page what is happening to the audience as they watch this short piece.


Now, if you’re an audience member who needs to be told how to react you should know that the film will be, “inciting a cognitive dissonance within [you], begging for a re-evaluation of [your] preconceived ontological assumptions and beliefs about the nature of reality”; but what if actually, you didn’t respond like that? What if in fact you question the link between skin, light and architecture, seeing them as separate entities which don’t share a common thread, not even a metaphysical one, and you don’t believe there’s a bigger question being explored through an out of focus, jumpy, five minute, arthouse film made by an undergraduate student who already calls himself “unique”, “a master”, “unparalleled”, “exceptional”, “renowned” and “a leader in his field”? Well then, you’d be right.


It seems far more likely that Sonski’s film is about skin, light and architecture because these are the things he was able to shoot. It takes nothing to grab your camera and head into town to take a few shots of people milling around and cars and buses moving through the streets, then all that’s needed is a liberal sprinkling of egotism to insert yourself naked (or nearly naked) into your own film to get the exposure that you are looking for. There is never any link shared or confluence shown between the three distinct aspects which Sonski has chosen and the level of abstraction he has used to make his point, whatever that may be, only serves to remove the viewer from the visuals and the film itself. If he is using Liquid Architecture as a metaphor for the transience of human life, Sonski might also consider the fact that his audience will be transient, too, as they disconnect from what they’re watching and move on to something else even before it is finished.


What Sonski does have in Liquid Architecture is an idea. The film was created by taking only two handpicked frames per second from each shot, with AI being used to fill in the remaining twenty-three. What this does is to blend the images together in a form of movement that jumps and shifts rather than pans or tracks. It is an interesting technique already used by many film-makers and is called frame interpolation, and while it may be useful for CGI artists or for reinvigorating old movies with a higher frame rate to make them ‘smoother’, here it is only helpful in making the light elements stand out as they streak across the screen and not much else.


What Sonski has got here is a gimmick, not art, despite what he is wont to tell you in his insufferably wordy (self-)promotional statements. Even at under five minutes long there’s not enough here to sustain the film throughout its runtime. Perhaps this technique could work in a thirty second advert but for anything more than that it needs purpose, a way of using it to actually tell a story, or to actually relate some higher idea which gets through to the audience. As it stands, Sonski’s work would do fine in an art gallery as it’s not too taxing, not too involved and not too long, with the added benefit for Sonski that he could include as many meaningless verbose statements alongside it as he cared to provide. As a film though, for an audience who appreciate talent and integrity, it’s not Liquid Architecture but solid guff.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Short Film
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