Plastic has brought the world to the brink of collapse Sputum, a science fiction film by Englishman Dan Geesin, who lives in the Netherlands. A toxic cloud, created from decaying plastic, makes life on earth virtually impossible. A small group of people appear to be naturally immune to the poison; their saliva is used to protect the rest of the survivors as well.
This has led to a system of exploitation. ‘Pheno odds’, people with usable slime, are violently ‘milked’ by the ruling class. One of the pheno odds is Jimin (Yannick Jozefzoon), who starts a relationship with the higher ranking Kalta (Jade Olieberg).
The story of Sputum sounds, to be honest, like a summary of well-known dystopian scenarios. A climate catastrophe, class struggle, an impossible love on the ruins of human civilization. Happy Sputum not a film that relies on the plot: almost every other element of this extraordinary feature debut is more important.
Geesin, who won a Golden Calf in 2011 for his short film Elephant feet, is a filmmaker with many talents. He composes, is a visual artist and made the music and sound design for the films of his partner Esther Rots (Can penetrate skin, Retrospect), which in turn Sputum assembled and produced. On Sputum Geesin worked for ten years.
The result is fascinating. Just the language of Sputum is special, full of idiosyncratic and suggestive expressions (also creatively translated: the subtitles of the English-language film contain texts such as ‘drink your drool’, ‘sprayer’, ‘I leak like a bruised fruit’ and ‘muzzle my flute’), in which Geesin doesn’t care that the stuff around spit, fungi and poison is rather unsavory. The title of the film is, of course, warning enough.
The music and camera work, in sparsely lit black and white, are also striking. The actors are excellent, especially Jozefzoon (recently seen in femicoming soon Piece of My Heart) proves its versatility. Yet Geesin does not know how to hold on to the enthusiasm until the end – eventually feels Sputum too much like a stretched-out short film. This seems mainly due to the low budget. It makes us curious about what Geesin can achieve with more resources.
Directed by Dan Geesin.
With Yannick Jozefzoon, Jade Olieberg, Tine Joustra, Guido Pollemans.
85 min., in 12 rooms.