Is your self-worth defined by the number of followers you generated on Instagram? We hope for your own salvation that this is just a rhetorical question to get this article started (and wouldn’t mind if you follow us on Instagram) about “Followers”, a new Netflix tv show from Japan reflecting on the narcissistic drives that compels our protagonist Natsume once a famous photographer puts her picture on Instagram:
Before her sudden fame Natsume tried her best to become an actress but never really managed to be casted for something more relevant than playing a corpse on some shady show. After being casted as a stand-in for another actress Natsume loses her shit as the producer humiliates her in front of the crew while Limi, an established fashion photographer, captures this moment of rage and despair and uploads it to Instagram. Soon the hashtag “#BeautifulAnger” trended on Instagram and Natsume found herself flooded with new followers – and new struggles and challenges as she might not be as cool and edgy as her new followers expect her to be.
“Followers” is mainly a showcase for the incredibly talented director Mika Ninagawa who previous worked as a fashion photographer herself and made herself a name for her depictions of flowers, goldfishes, butterflies in the most vibrant colors.
Ninagawa’s visual talent covers for some of the storytelling flaws of “Followers” and once you get used to the irritating approach that instant fame on Instagram doesn’t automatically turn a person into a likable and complex character some unexpected depths is added to the multiple layers of social commentary within the story. The true heroine of the Story is Limi. The way she’s reconciling her dreams, desires and career is as uplifting as empowering.
The lessons learnt within “Followers” aren’t fundamentally new – but the stunning visuals from the Japanese fashion industry captured by one of Asias most talented female directors are definitely worth a watch. Tune in and binge it, even if it’s just for the sake of the sensational color compositions and outfits to die for.