Nothing is quite what it seems in Rachel Maclean’s Make Me Up. A glitzy, glittery dream house is actually a Brutalist prison for women. The authoritarian diva holding them in captivity appears to be a woman, but has the voice of Kenneth Clark from BBC’s Civilisation. The sugary-sweet environments in which they dance seem like fun, safe spaces to explore one’s identity … until you notice the surveillance cameras.
Such tension is at the core of Maclean’s incisive critique of contemporary feminism. Maclean luxuriates in the possibilities of a purely feminine aesthetic – all cotton-candy pinks and pastel purples, not unlike those popularised on Instagram – while peering behind the veil to expose the oppressive forces at work. Though social media can offer a respite from life under patriarchy, Maclean’s film explicates the latent violence and submission that is normalised through these platforms. New selves and new worlds bloom from technology that always moves forward, but somehow can never fully escape the past.
The screening of Tue 29 Jan, 19:15 will be preceded by a performance of Yoana Pavlova.