If we consider posthumanism as the extreme fusion of humans and machines, resembling a kind of pathological symbiosis, and acknowledge that this concept has become a tangible reality, then a short film like ‘The Rooms‘ is more than just a cold shower. It’s the dystopia we live in as we speak. Heeryun You thus invites us into an uncomfortably familiar universe, synthesizing with surgical precision, cynicism, and a paradoxical, roughly morbid fascination the inter-human connections filtered through gadgets and social media. These infinite corridors and gates beyond which lie existential fragments of the protagonist’s life are, in fact, the daily routes of each of us, the escapist universes and pretexts revealing our own emotional disasters.
Trapped within the intricate web of chat rooms, engaging in sterile conversations with his mother and less-than-sincere friends, navigating between fleeting aspirations and transient illusions, the main character becomes the victim of a fate that is crushingly… banal. Far from being able to break out of this endless “social” loop, he illustrates with disarming sincerity the loneliness of each of us.
The “cold”, hermetic, hard, and geometric accuracy of a translucent crystal explores the architecture of a perpetual nightmare. It’s as if Nicolas Winding Refn is trying to articulate the cinematic hallucination of a director like David Lynch. If we were to focus strictly on this technical, compositional level, Heeryun You would convince, by far, with her special artistic vision. Yet his short film is more than that. Under the guise of a fragmentary discursive and situational chaos, the director hides the perfidious web of a collective madness, of that unbearable state of loneliness in the company of others. The existential absurdity and the communicational void that are brought to light reach grotesque proportions, questioning in subtext the great paradox we are living: the “talking without speaking” syndrome specific to the era that led to the boom of social networks. Incisive and necessary, ‘The Rooms’ is a short film that, with trenchant authenticity, takes us out of our comfort zone to highlight an aberrant routine that we’ve assimilated without even understanding how it happened.