Art, throughout history, has had no lack of men portraying women, so I’m really happy that currently there is a massive trend of women in virtual spaces, in charge of how they want to portray themselves. What was missing, to my mind, was women portraying men.
Through Craigslist, an internationally active internet network, Samira Elagoz arranges one-on-one first encounters with a wide variety of men, including a magician, an exhibitionist, sadist video artist and a softcore porn director. She films her first encounters in a candid and transparent cinema verité style that aims to explore how the camera influences intimacy between two strangers: the documentarian and the subject.
The set up is simple - she brings a camera, and films how they get to know each other. Every encounter is real and unscripted. She weaves her own presence in and out, and becomes part of the narrative. Instead of making a film she enters one. And shares something oddly real with them.
The power relationship between artist and subject, man and woman, seductor and seductée is turned on its head again and again, and because Elagoz refuses to editorialise, Craigslists Allstars becomes a confounding portrait of contemporary sexual mores, masculinity, femininity and everything in between.
A deeply fascinating piece of work from a fearless artist.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Masterful! Craigslist Allstars is a true pearl. Samira Elagoz has made a groundbreaking research into human relations and men’s sexuality.
The film itself is a masterpiece in improvisation.