Boris Mitic’s “In Praise of Nothing”, presented in the Signs of Life section at this year’s Locarno Festival, offers a witty satirical look at humanity. From the very beginning, it is lear that it is not a traditional expository documentary. Iggy Pop’s voice-over immediately strips away any credibility from the film, so that the audience has no choice but to sit back and enjoy the joking nature of the documentary.
Nonetheless, “In Praise of Nothing” is anything but an escapist comedy: its satire makes us reflect on our world and on the absurdity of our society. Its relentlessly bold critique has something to say about everyone and spares no one. By doing so, the film cannot be considered politically incorrect, as it insults everyone and consequently no one can really feel offended or too uncomfortable.
Iggy Pop’s voice-over is not only funny because of its content, but also thanks to its form. In fact, the narration is conveyed in rhyme from start to finish, giving he film a tone that is at once poetic and childish. This mirrors the film as a whole: it is a thought-provoking work that is not afraid of being funny and appearing silly.
Although it may be argued that in this film the visuals complement the soundtrack rather than the opposite, what is shown on screen is still of exceptional quality. With a scope that is even more monumental than Ron Fricke’s 2011 documentary “Samsara”, the film was shot in 70 countries by more than 60 directors of photography. Despite its fragmentary nature, the film’s cinematography is of extremely good quality, and Mitric (who is also the writer, editor and co-producer of the film) managed to put them together with exceptional consistency and coherence.
Thus the film is an amusing documentary which combines carefully combined gorgeous shots with an irreverent commentary. Although it does not go too in-depth, perhaps in fear of becoming too “heavy”, it manages to make us think about some of the important issues of our world. “In Praise of Nothing” is about Nothing and, consequently, about everything. And, although this may sound unnecessarily pretentious, it works exceptionally well, making this film one not to be missed.