This portrait of a woman on the verge follows fitness influencer Sylwia Zając, a social media celebrity with 600,000 followers, whose glossy, energetic brand begins to crack as she grows more and more isolated by her fame.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Magdalena Koleśnik is magnetic in her debut lead role as a woman on the verge, in this clever take on the exhausting toll of social media stardom. The Polish-Swedish character study, written and directed by Magnus von Horn, follows 72 hours in the life of fitness influencer Sylwia Zając, a social media celebrity whose confident, energetic brand begins to crack as she grows more and more isolated by her fame.
We meet Sylwia during a fitness class in the middle of a suburban Warsaw mall – all hot pink athleisure and bouncy blonde ponytail – days after she’s gone viral for livestreaming a vulnerable confession.
Despite her seemingly perfect online persona, she tearfully revealed to her loyal fans that she is hopelessly lonely, yearning for a boyfriend and for love. In the aftermath of this unfiltered display of vulnerability, her endorsement deals and brand partnerships start to slip away, and the film takes a sobering turn as Sylwia begins to suspect one of her followers is stalking her.
Sweat is a poignant descent into the way social media wields insecurity, self-doubt and expectations of authenticity in a world where every moment is expected to be turned into content. — Amanda Jane Robinson
“Sweat describes social media as a cult-like world of self-improvement, self-commodification and self-punishment, bound together by collective belief but full of contradictions.” — Steve Rose, The Guardian