Jaroslav Moravec directs ‘Mission Complete’.
A girl waiting for a Tinder date is taken down the rabbit hole, imagining her life taking different turns.
Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic.
Words from Jara below.
Jara, in the description of the work you say ‘why does it sometimes feel like I am an avatar of myself, playing a game that I cannot quit? An image within an image’. Can you elaborate on this concept?
Don’t we all level up in a similar way?
People have always been competing against each other but with the arrival of social media, we are now able to commodify all sorts of things that were previously unimaginable. There’s an app pretty much for everything now and we’re obsessed with putting a number to everything. Whether it’s a number of likes you collect on your photo, your heart rate being monitored by your smartwatch or the number of steps you make each day. This reminds me of RPG games where you have to “level up” your character. Don’t we all level up in a similar way?
An image within an image is a more personal reflection. I make a living creating images, I spend incredible amount of time looking at and making images only to “go out” and do something else as a release. I am, in a way, living my life inside of these images, just like those computer characters.
You create a parallelism between the main character’s story and a video game she feels like she’s living in. How did you choose which scenes to shoot with the actors and which scenes to portray through the video game sequences?
Video game sequences were a tool to show her mind slipping, dreaming about her life as it takes different turns. My intention was not to show her live inside of a game, rather draw some video game qualities that appear in our lives.
Video game sequences were a tool to show her mind slipping, dreaming about her life as it takes different turns.
In general, I wanted to bring those two worlds closer. Find video game moments in the real world and real world moments in the game. That’s why ‘Sims 1’ was the only thinkable choice – it’s the first game reaching cult status where you simulate an ordinary life. In fact, there are Sims communities online even nowadays. People spend their Halloween and Thanksgivings as avatars in the online version of Sims. It’s also the only Sims game with a pretty dark, gritty look. ‘Sims 2’ turned cuter and more infantile and none of the newer editions have this quality.
The overarching theme for the game shots are moments of romance or intimacy as that’s what goes on in Nicki’s head throughout the film. Live action choreography stayed timid for a reason. I did not want to be too literal and create too obvious NPC moments. I was looking for moments where a slice of humanity peeked through – whether that’s stereotypical moments like going out and dancing or admiring a pretty painting.
Some moments are more symbolic – characters are on a journey to find each other. Some moments are almost voyeuristic and show the fantasy of a date like a real deal.
What were your main inspirations for this film?
The aesthetics of things being totally perfect to a point where they become sterile.
It’s been a mix of different influences. The album by the composer Trevor Linde who made the music for the film was probably the starting point. I was very interested in portrayal of societal anxiety in paintings by Edward Hopper and photographs by Gregory Crewdson. I have also been looking at some contemporary CGI work. The aesthetics of things being totally perfect to a point where they become sterile. Audiobooks and oral narration in general was an influence.
Popular culture of late 90’s / early 00’s had major impact on this film. I might have been too young and naive but it felt at the time that this American dream is still within our grasp before climate crisis became a major narrative. This era of seemingly endless growth coincides with the release of this game in 2001.
What are you reading at the moment?
‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.
- Jaroslav Moravec
- Jason Felstead, Jack Goodwin
- Executive Producer
- Matous Marcinko
- Tomáš Kotas
- Director of Photography
- Nicole Zuzanna Hoff, Oskar Marcin Szymkowski
- Zenita Helgo
- Katarina Gramatova
- Marina Starke
- Samuel Jurkovič
- Sound Design
- Trevor Linde
- Closer, Kode, Hamlet
- Production Company