‘Nimic’: Mimicry at Its Most Discomforting

Yorgos Lanthimos has this eerily satisfying way of creating a dystopian atmosphere around the concepts of human behavior. If you have been following his work, you know how he can effortlessly bend his audience and turn them into hollow but enlightened souls just as the credits roll. If you have an affinity for dark comedies or “positively disturbing” cinema, you are sure to find his recent identity-shaking short Nimic a treat.

Based on the idea of David Kolbusz and Efthymis Filippou’s script, Nimic focuses on the unconventional exchange between a New York male cellist (Matt Dillon) and a strange woman (Daphne Patakia) on a subway train. If you think this is something similar to Before Sunrise, think again; train meet-ups are not always as romantic as we imagine them to be.

Nimic, with its mundane elements, presents a mimicry gone wrong. Is imitation the best form of flattery? Lanthimos has a murky answer to that. As you go deeper into the film, you also begin to question the very nature of identity and its vulnerabilities. Is there really such a thing as a fixed identity? Is it transferable? Can it be stolen and replaced? In this reality, if you want to be a cellist from scratch, all you have to do is find one, mimic one, and then become one.

Nimic, in a nutshell, is another successful intriguing soul-shaker from Lanthimos. The dry, deadpan script dances beautifully with the hypnotic, sweeping score, creating a cinematic experience that both alienates and reconciles the viewer from their own identity in just twelve minutes. 

Nimic is streaming on Mubi.

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