Programmed by Ariane Roy Poirier
2020: Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal;
The director explores one of the most bizarre trends on YouTube: "Clean with Me” vlogs, made exclusively by a community of white women who post livestreams of themselves as they scrub their homes down. Beyond the facade of cleanliness, inspirational hum-drum, and bland muzak, the "good wife” image slips away to reveal a sense of suffocation, existential angst, and deep depression. Using a desktop movie format that is faithful to the material that it recycles, the film is a resourceful exploration of both the vlogging phenomenon and of the desperation of women entrapped by their gender roles.
A word from Tënk
Its desktop documentary aesthetic made it a perfect fit for the Festival Plein(s) Écran(s), but Clean with Me (After Dark) is a tour de force all on its own. Using the internet as a documentary source, filmmaker Gabrielle Stemmer handily guides us through encounters with women who film themselves as they scrub every surface of their large homes until they shine with an energy that can only be qualified as desperate. Through precise editing with a voyeuristic bent, zooming in as needed, she directs our gaze and takes us down the rabbit hole with her to find out what’s lurking behind this obsession. These homemakers, who may seem superficial to us in the first few moments of the film, are eventually revealed in all their vulnerability and (especially) loneliness. A radical feminist work that masters both its format and delivery of its powerful message.
Ariane Roy Poirier
Director of programming