For many artists, their work is an extension of themselves, and operate as a form of working through their emotions. Filmmaker Campbell Addy works in a similar manner, using film to explore identity by focusing the projects inward:
“Niijournal II explores themes of mental health, sexuality, race and more drawing from my personal experiences, the Niijournal team and contributors. The visual metaphor of the bodies pressed against the perspex symbolizes the internal struggle one can face for a number of reasons, from one’s mental state to gender, it can be a very isolating and scary topic. This video was created in response to such things, to create a space where we can discuss, listen and learn.”
Addy delivers on this premise. Niijournal II is an incredibly soft, delicate, and touching approach to what is normally perceived as pervasive and polarizing topics. You can really feel, not just see, the care that went into its craft. Bodies and movements swirl into one another to the swells of a violin. While each specific issue is never explicitly shown or mentioned, certain shots, like the body close up shots and the shots through the perspex, convey the varying ranges of emotion, from fear to acceptance to perhaps even celebration.
Because the film is shot almost entirely in close up shots, the time and narrative normally needed to relate to a character are almost non-existent here. This physical proximity, coupled with the vulnerability of the nudity, instantly creates a relation between subject and viewer. On the subject of nudity, Addy’s gentle approach never even approaches a feeling of voyeurism or exploitation. Instead, it adds to the narrative, both in the aforementioned aspect of vulnerability, but also in direct relationship to the themes of mental health, race, dysmorphia, and so on. Niijournal II is one of the rare projects revolving around these often difficult topics that provides a dialogue rather than an exploiting the subjects and issues.