Slamdance 2022: Actual People

Written by Maria Athayde

50/100

Written, directed, starring, and produced by Kit Zauhar, “Actual People” tells the story of Riley (Kit Zauhar) a Philly transplant and philosophy major navigating her last semester of school in New York City. The big question this movie asks is “what are you going to do after”? That is, what are you going to do after you graduate college? Clocking in at a quick 84 minutes “Actual People” is a minimalistic, monotone, and moody look into what happens after graduation. It deals with a very familiar dread of not knowing what you’re going to do next. Set during that awkward stage in life where you start to transition from a young adult without responsibilities to an adult with all the demands of life. Beyond this big question “what happens next?” “Actual People” doesn’t have a lot going for it. It is repetitive but not completely off-putting. 

You feel for Riley as she tries to figure out what’s next in her life. The film is occasionally punctuated by Instagram-style vertical videos, and like a merrigoround always returns to the same concern, “what are you going to do after graduation?” An aspect that I wished the film explored more thoroughly was Riley’s Asian-American identity. It is mentioned for comedic relief and in passing a few times during the film but not much comes from it. Despite the clear distinction that it seems to mean “something” to her. The most admiral part about this movie was that Zauhar pulled this all together with a minimal budget. This definitely is not for everyone and while I won’t revisit it anytime soon, I am excited to see what Zauhar does next.

Actual People Trailer

“Actual People” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Slamdance Film Festival.

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdTwitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.

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