Drama, 10 min
Fall in love. Put it on tape.
The single-take format also lends itself to making Atomic Love appear like a fragment suspended in time
Imogen McClusky’s Atomic Love is a step back in time to 1988, as Aleea (Maddy McWilliam) and her friend Dana (Priscilla Doueihy), make a video dating profile to help Aleea find the man of her dreams.
However, Aleea’s frustration as a single woman leads to a confession, which creates a rift between the two women. From the outset, this film is visually breath- taking. Its retro aesthetic glistening in every detail, from the static on the opening screen to the squared frame and low video quality. And if this wasn’t enough to be instantly identifiable as the 1980s, Aleea’s hair, make-up, and costume scream the gaudy kitschness of the era, in a whirlwind of hot pink and gravity-defying curls.
The film’s single-take format also lends itself to making Atomic Love appear like a fragment suspended in time, almost feeling like found-footage, or an old tape being rediscovered by the spectator in real-time. Much of the viewing experience of this film is focused in the camera itself, as it holds the continuous, static gaze, while Aleea and Dana move in and out of the frame. McClusky’s choice to make the camera the soul point of view, not only maintains the realism of the film as a dating profile, but makes the audience feel present in the scene beyond just being a fly on the wall. As well, McWilliam’s performance as Aleea alongside the realism in the screenwriting, reaffirms this feeling of found-footage. There is a degree of complete normality in the character, making her seem like an average person you might meet in day-to day life without a second thought.
Atomic Love feels like a poignant reminder of queer existence in the past, and brings to the surface stories of queer women and queer bodies that have been lost in time.
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