Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

Sweat 2020

Directed by Magnus von Horn

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.  

Poland / Sweden In English and Polish with English subtitles
106 minutes DCP 

Director, Screenplay

Cast

Magdalena Kolesnik
,
Julian Swiezewski
,
Aleksandra Konieczna
,
Zbigniew Zamachowski

Producers

Mariusz Włodarski

Cinematography

Michał Dymek

Editor

Agnieszka Glińska

Festivals

Cannes (Selection) 2020; Rotterdam 2021

Elsewhere

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