Ben Russell

2015 | 00:06:30 | South Africa / United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Dance, Music, Sound, Youth/Childhood

Filmed in the remains of Soweto's historic Sans Souci Cinema (1948-1998), YOLO is a makeshift structuralist mash-up created in collaboration with the Eat My Dust youth collective from the Kliptown district of Soweto, South Africa. Vibrating with mic checks and sine waves, resonating with an array of pre-roll sound — this is cause-and-effect shattered again and again, temporarily undone.

 O humans, You Only Live Once!

"The teenage sound recordist pressed stop when he was supposed to press start; the sync clap went unseen; the adolescent non-actors missed their cues; a soccer ball flew through the air towards the camera; all of the breaks and ruptures took a different form altogether. In YOLO, sight is confused and reflected in all directions, catching the audience in a series of glances that turns everyone into subject. It is a reverse-linear narrative featuring a collective of young “underprivileged” filmmakers from the impoverished townships surrounding Johannesburg; it is a kino-mash-up that asks kids to play cinema like football, to claim the medium as their own material."

– The Center for Ongoing Research and Projects, Columbus OH (September 2015)

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Toronto International Film Festival

Exhibitions + Festivals

Projections, New York Film Festival (2015)