- Reviewed from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
The film that Jane Schoenbrun’s remarkable fiction feature debut We’re All Going to the World’s Fair most reminded me of was Penny Lane’s The Pain of Others, a documentary on (as per Wikipedia) the “self-diagnosed, scientifically unsubstantiated skin condition” Morgellons.
Schoenbrun, like Lane, sets their film in the recesses of a niche internet subculture and examines what could be considered to be an internet-transmitted illness, the effects of which are most strikingly physical but are equally visible in the deteriorating mental health of its sufferers. The emotional support of internet strangers can be a dangerous thing.
World’s Fair revels in its ambiguity, however, meaning that any critical reading can only be espoused theoretically. Schoenbrun’s film engenders such a deep suspicion of its own footage in the audience that even the supposedly ‘neutral’ and explanatory final coda is difficult to trust.
What is without doubt is the talents of the filmmakers, including star Anna Cobb, who have created a striking, modern horror which is both restrained and yet unerringly creepy.
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