Poser: NIGHTSTREAM ’21 Review

Poser still of Lennon (Sylvie Mix) and Bobbi Kitten (herself) looking at their reflections in a mirror.

Poser, directed by Ori Sorgev and Noah Dixon and written by Noah Dixon, follows Lennon (Sylvie Mix) as she becomes obsessed with a musical artist she records for her podcast. With a focus on the underground Gen Z art and music scene, the feels like a mix between a Single White Female and a teen film where the protagonist lies and gets caught. However, don’t expect the simple hands joined in forgiveness resolution here. Poser is a slow burn about identity, isolation and obsession. It blends artistic directing, the underground art and music scene with a steady pace to make a drama that is equal parts compelling and unnerving.

A Slow Burn About Identity

The pacing is good and, although I struggled to get into the film at first, as Poser progressed, I became embroiled in questions about Lennon’s identity and motivations. At the beginning of the film, Lennon is an interviewer covering the art and music scene. She is awkward and unsure, watching and recording other guests at an art exhibit on her phone. Her phone and headphones, a staple of her character, provides distance from her surroundings and means to gain proximity. Though Lennon interviews a variety of bands and singers for her podcast, we never get a scene where she uploads her recordings online. They instead are re-recorded onto cassettes, labeled, and shelved. 

Lennon’s uncertainty inspires sympathy. . .at first. After all, identity struggles are not uncommon, and sometimes it takes far into adulthood to make that discovery. Especially when she confesses to another artist that she writes songs and pulls out her journal to show them. Then later, when she performs her music in front of her soon-to-be-obsession Bobbi Kitten, complete with guitar, not only is the song haunting, but her husky shy voice entrances everyone listening, including Bobbi. 

The Signs Are There If You Look

Poser still of Lennon (Sylvie Mix) wearing large headphones and holding up her phone to record audio
Courtesy of Nightstream

When Lennon brags to her sister about her podcast, it doesn’t appear to be much. That’s always the way with some red flags; they seem less vibrant, less glaring. The audience’s second flag is when Lennon and Bobbi view a piece of art with a red stripe down the center. Lennon waxes lyrical about the work, but it’s not her words; it’s words she recorded a man saying about another piece of art at the start of the film. The question of whether Lennon deserves pity then changes to how much of what she says is true. And how far is Lennon willing to go? 

Poser works partly because of the story but also because Sylvie Mix as Lennon is perfect. She exudes awkwardness with every look; you can feel her uncertainty with herself as well as her desperate need to portray a facade. Lennon makes you want to comfort her but also stay away because her stare is that uncomfortable. 

Thumbs Up For Local Music Scene

There are scenes and images of art, music, and a cute montage as Lennon and Bobbi become friends, making me think of Foxfire. A few artists, “WYD,” “Son of Dribble,” and more, were part of this film, and I have to look up their tracks on Spotify. I love when films use music by more obscure artists because I’m always on the lookout for great music. More movies need to do the same instead of recycling songs already used—better; I might add—in eight other films. 

Poser is such a tame word to describe an unhealthy obsession with forging an inauthentic identity. It does not have big dramatic scenes or reveals, but it easily handles the quiet insidiousness of lies. The use of the underground art and music scene adds another layer, as those scenes are rife with posers attempting to appear more important than they are. While confidence of self is essential in this cutthroat world, Poser shows how faux confidence that hides a lack of confidence and identity can have disastrous outcomes. 

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