Monday, February 6, 2023


This is a film I enjoyed but I don’t completely know why. There’s almost nothing left to say about it that hasn’t already been said about other voyeuristic internet-based movies on a surface level. Social media, the internet, “main character syndrome”, etc have all warped our brains to some degree. We're All Going To The World's Fair travels down the same path as stuff like Benny's VideoAfterschool. with connections to urban legend horrors like Candyman or The Blair Witch Project (in the film people participate in an online challenge that's supposed to slowly transform you).

The Blair Witch Project /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

This movie really doesn't go anywhere. It just kind of lingers from beginning to end. I know this isn't exactly a glowing recommendation or a rave review of something I claim to have enjoyed but at the same time this isn't anything that I would really recommend to most folks in the first place. 

But I swear I like this movie...

One thing that absolutely fascinates me about World’s Fair were the influences along with director Jane Schoenbrun’s openness about said influences. Anyone familiar with me or this blog should know that’s right up my alley. I love the idea that Chantal Akerman played a small part in influencing a horror movie:

One of the primary references I was looking at was Je Tu Il Elle by Chantal Akerman, especially the beginning of that movie, there's a 30-minute sequence of her just rotting away in her room, alone - Jane Schoenbrun,

Je Tu Il Elle /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

One of the more memorable scenes from World’s Fair also has an eerily similar tone to another famous Akerman scene (similar to Suate Ma Ville, a large chunk of We're All Going To The World's Fair takes place in a room):

Saute Ma Ville /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

I wouldn't be surprised if later period Akerman rubbed off on World's Fair even on a surface level...

No Home Movie /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

There’s even a few quick Bergman-esque moments:

Persona /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

Persona / We're All Going To The World's Fair

Again - a film about the potential horrors of living on social media isn’t new territory. Perhaps this is, in my opinion, the best at tackling the subject in recent years? But that’s just one person’s opinion (an opinion I stand by, but nothing I would try to bully anyone in to agreeing). This movie is quite boring in parts. And that’s a good thing. Boring isn’t always bad and in the case of World’s Fair it’s a compliment. This is an Akerman-influenced horror film so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nothing much happens. But, like Jeanne Dielman stabbing the john, when something traditionally creepy or scary does happen in World’s Fair, it’s worth the wait.
There are so many scenes that could have gone the traditional jump scare route but instead Schoenbrun just lets the camera linger until slowly fading out in to the next seemingly “boring” scene (again - boring is a good thing here). There’s even a moment in the film that pokes fun at the often copied Videodrome/Poltergeist/Braindead/Ringu moment where the creepy entity comes through the screen to grab the unsuspecting victim.

The last thing I want to do is use twitter/letterboxd speech to describe a movie but World’s Fair really is a "vibe". I cringed a bit writing that but at the same time - that’s the most accurate description. I’m trying my best not use the term “lo-fi” which, like the term “Lynchian”, I find to be lazy. 

Although speaking of Lynch - World's Fair director Schoenbrun is an unofficial student of his (I encourage anyone reading this to follow her on social media for her opinions on cinema):

I’m a big fan of thinking of a film as infinitely deep. I think I got that from [David] Lynch - Jane Schoenbrun,

Inland Empire /
We're All Going To The World's Fair

Lynch is a director that’s very vague & evasive when it comes to talking about the plot or meaning of his films. But when it comes to how a scene was shot or how a set was built, he’ll talk for hours.

To quote Lynch’s daughter:

For him the doing is the joy. Sure, the product is important but he's very inspiring to me because the act of creating is what he so cherishes. And I think that that makes everything and every day more important - Jane Lynch, Pretty As A Picture: The Art Of David Lynch

This ideology applies to my enjoyment of World’s Fair. I care less about the plot and more about how Jane Schoenbrun achieved the overall “vibe”. 

This isn’t really a “ review”. It’s just the ramblings of someone who’s watched We’re All Going To The World’s Fair twice in 24 hours that wanted to share some initial thoughts. Now that this is available on HBO Max I’ll probably revisit it a few more times potentially and update this post in the coming months. 


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