Selfie is a French anthology film comprising five different tales by five different directors, about “the influence of new media on good people”, as the tagline states. While many anthology films, like Boccaccio 70 (1962) or Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) feature distinct, separate episodes with a common theme, the stories in Selfie also share a common location: a town in France in a future so near it almost resembles the present, except for an increased, slightly dystopian dependence on technology (similar to Black Mirror). The same characters and places appear between stories, lending a fluid, choral quality to the voices of the various directors.
A dark comedy bordering on the tragic
The other unifying feature in Selfie is the tone: a dark comedy bordering on the tragic, reminiscent of Damian Szifron’s 2014 film Wild Tales. From the lonely high school teacher who starts trolling an internet celebrity only to fall in love with him, to the man coping with the loss of his father through online shopping, the characters crave connection and meaning in their lives: and more often than not, failing to find it.
The vignettes, while sharply hilarious, all leave a certain emptiness, urging the viewer to stop and consider the themes that lie beneath the humor- similar to 60s and 70s Italian comedies like Dino Risi’s Il Sorpasso.
As fast-paced and stimulating as the social media world it examines, Selfie is both empathetic and cynical about people and relationships in the digital age, leaving the audience free to draw their own conclusions.