Us, Forever Ago is a fascinating documentary-drama hybrid. No, I don’t mean a “mockumentary”. It’s more of an innovative take on making a documentary and mixing it with drama. Read more in our Us, Forever Ago review here!
Us, Forever Ago is a different kind of indie film. Not just because it’s a hybrid but because it plays with its genres in a downright brazen way.
The end result of Us, Forever Ago is mostly being a documentary. However, and this is where that extra hybrid layer comes in, it’s a documentary about trying to make a feature film. That’s what makes it a hybrid since many of the scenes shown are explained as being shot for a feature film. But, of course, are now shown as part of a documentary instead.
Read more in our Us, Forever Ago review below.
A “Behind the Scenes” feel
Us, Forever Ago almost feels like a “Behind the Scenes” look at a movie that you’ve never watched. And never will watch since it doesn’t actually exist. Only this documentary about a feature film being made exists.
Are you with me so far? It might sound strange, but it does actually make sense when you watch it. In a weird and offbeat way that I found myself liking a lot more than I ever expected. I review a lot of horror movies for the website Heaven of Horror which means I watch a lot of indie and (sometimes very) low-budget movies.
Us, Forever Ago manages to have a gorgeous visual style while also having better audio than many low-budget movies. If you watch low-budget movies, you probably know that audio is often the one element that is hard to master. It also means you appreciate good sound that much more – especially the talent and effort that goes into it.
Female artist – or just “artist”
At the very beginning of Us, Forever Ago there’s this brilliant little introduction. Irina Varina is talking about the movie she was making – which is now part of the documentary – and she talks about its subject.
It’s quite simply a look at female artists. And since this introduction is supposedly made in 2030, Varina comments that it’s weird how we called them “female artists” back then instead of just “artists”.
Personally, I try to keep gender out of describing something. I will most certainly note when a director or a writer is a woman (because so few of them still are), but I tend to use the word “actor” whether talking about a male or a female performer. For this reason alone, this movie had my attention and heart from the very beginning.
Us, Forever Ago will not be for everyone. Then again, you probably won’t choose to watch a low-budget indie documentary-drama hybrid, if you’re not ready for something a bit different. Rather than a story, the progress in Us, Forever Ago is more about people and feelings.
This works for me, but I definitely recognize it doesn’t work for everyone. It doesn’t always work for me either.
Feature film debut of Irina Varina
This hybrid indie was written, directed, produced by and stars Irina Varina. Obviously, it’s a passion project for Irina Varina but it’s also her feature film debut. However, Irina Varina isn’t new to performing or even as a filmmaker. She had already made seven short films before Us, Forever Ago and another short film after making her first feature.
Up next for Irina Varina is a webseries in the making called Things I’d like to do instead of thinking about men. It’s described as a “playful and vulnerable exploration of cultural conditionings around romantic relationships and men”. There’s no release date yet but you can sign up for a newsletter on her website here or follow Irina Varina on Instagram here.
While Us, Forever Ago might seem a bit difficult to get into at first, you need to just sit back and let it wash over you. Everything will and does make sense before the end credits.
Us, Forever Ago had its world premiere on June 9, 2018, at The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. After this, it went on to have a successful run at indie festivals before being released to a wider audience now.
Us, Forever Ago is out on VOD now – you can find it on Amazon here >
Director: Irina Varina
Writer: Irina Varina
Cast: Irina Varina, Andrea Clinton, Emily McLoughlin, Chana Porter, Katie Frank
In the near future a woman recalls the years 2015-2017 when she was making her first feature film, in which she played a young woman who was making a documentary about female artists.