By José Sarmiento Hinojosa
Jim Finn seems to get pleasure in the aesthetics of video, and the possibilities of recreation of alternative realities this format can provide him. With his mockumentary, La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo (2007), he recalled the terrorist movement Sendero Luminoso and its movements inside the Peruvian prison system, and how the prisons served as headquarters for the prisoners, organizing parades and spreading the maoist ideology of the movement. It was an intelligent move to recreate this dark period of Peruvian history with non actors who gave the representation a kind of detached feel which was elemental for the proper distance the viewer had to take in front of this harsh reality recreated by Finn.
Imagined as an self-improvement old VHS video, Encounters… again finds in the mockumentary form the best exit for approaching a controversial subject. Always denouncing the excesses of capitalism and communism, the filmmaker has no problem reaching to both sides of the spectre to show them at their worst, in all their nakedness. But if maybe the tone that the filmmaker uses is superficial at times, it’s because the vessel he uses for capturing such a subject is mere humour, a powerful tool that Finn manages to master with a great pulse for pointing the darkest moments with a sense of irony that is completely delightful.
Hence the metaphor for bunkers, or secret Vietcong underground galleries, and such, elements regarded as horrible reminders of the cold war, but here put to use as tools of a “superficial self-help” language that is supposed to get you in touch with your “inner Trotsky child”. In managing such humour, Finn dispenses not with the memory attached with those elements, but with the solemnity such elements are usually approached with, and hence, he does a fantastic work in reminding and setting his idea deep in the brain of the viewer. Encounters With Your Inner Trotsky Child is a remarkable short film infused with the spirit of the 80’s.
Director: Jim Finn
Producer: Jim Finn
Editors: Mike Bullock,Dean DeMatteis,Butcher Walsh
Cast: Lois Severin, Franz Mazza Finn
USA, Iceland, Germany