In Praise of Nothing

Review by Thomas Nguyen

Directed by

Boris Mitic

Starring

Iggy Pop

Anticipation.

A documentary about nothing in particular with rock star Iggy Pop’s voice as standalone cast.

Enjoyment.

The shots are outstanding, but what feels like a motley collection of thoughts ultimately makes for a puzzling whole.

In Retrospect.

Quotes from the film linger in the mind as it starts its late-night questioning of the universe.

Iggy Pop narrates this strange, singular documentary comprising the observations of 62 cinematographers from across the globe.

In Praise of Nothing, from director Boris Mitic, is the result of a collaboration between 62 cinematographers across 70 countries, who combined their talents over eight years to produce this culturally and intellectually diverse visual essay. It is as much a parody of the documentary form as it is a conceptual monologue.

Despite its title, the film offers an abstruse reflection on more than a few things – although it’s always clear exactly what is being reflecting on. The concept of nothingness it brought to life through the character of Nothing, who expresses a variety of ideas using rhyming dialogue and hopes that audience members will be able to build their own movie.

Notes that are taken from an old film’s credits sequence introduce Nothing, who is voiced by Iggy Pop, questioning what he/it observes during a weekend on Earth. His narration is generally disconnected from what is shown on screen and often dwells on existential, open-ended interrogations. Nothing addresses the lives of Asians, Arabs, Europeans and their attempts at dealing with the notion of nothingness. He offers a contemplation of existence, human relationships, politics, morality and the arts, all from an all-encompassing, god-like vantage.

The film comprises a compilation of mostly motionless shots which alternate between breathtaking landscapes, abstract imagery and more mundane scenes – all of which are artistically pleasing and engaging. Their common trait is a quiet celebration of everything the world has to offer, obtained without really filming anything in particular. Humans, animals, nature and objects are in turn given the spotlight, and each are depicted from poetic angles.

The film could be about the urgent, modern necessity of quiet observation. It is also an ode to the ability of cinematographers everywhere to sublimate the environment around them and transcribe their vision to the screen.

Published 7 Sep 2018

Tags: Iggy Pop

Anticipation.

A documentary about nothing in particular with rock star Iggy Pop’s voice as standalone cast.

Enjoyment.

The shots are outstanding, but what feels like a motley collection of thoughts ultimately makes for a puzzling whole.

In Retrospect.

Quotes from the film linger in the mind as it starts its late-night questioning of the universe.

Related Reviews

Distant Constellation

By Mark Asch

The inhabitants of a Turkish retirement home contemplate life’s big questions in this captivating doc from Shevaun Mizrahi.

review LWLies Recommends

Iggy Pop’s five greatest on-screen moments

By Daniel Dylan Wray

With a new record from the legendary rock’n’roller due out this month, revisit some of his most memorable movie performances.

Manakamana

By David Jenkins

One of 2014’s best films comprises of 11 long takes from inside a Nepalese cable car.

review LWLies Recommends

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design

Sign up to our newsletter to hear more from team LWLies