Time Out London-“Buy It Now”

Buy It Now (2005)
Director: Antonio Campos


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From Time Out London

Adolescence has always been a period of self-dramatisation, each fledgling adult the hero of his or her own (usually tragic) tale. Thanks to the digital revolution, with its explosion of accessible DV, blogging, YouTube and the rest, these stories can now be articulated, aestheticised and archived as never before. Antonio Campos’ short, bifurcated experimental piece takes a ‘Blair Witch’ approach to this phenomenon, offering a purportedly genuine record of 16-year-old Chelsea Mangan’s sale of her virginity on eBay. The plan, hatched from the bedroom of the comfortable New York apartment Chelsea shares with her divorced mom, leads to a hotel-room encounter that proves less satisfying than the ‘killing two birds with one stone’ situation she hoped for.

The first half-hour, dubbed ‘Documentary’, is supposedly compiled from video material shot by Mangan (played by Chelsea Logan) for her own reasons as the enterprise unfolds; the second half, ‘Narrative’, presents the same chain of events as drama. I took the latter half to be another faux ‘found’ text, a piece of filmic autobiography made by the 16-year-old character, though there’s no particular evidence for this beyond more wooden performances and the wish-fulfilment quality of the john’s paternal qualities. In any case, the situation is presented in the context of parental neglect, self-abusive insecurity, exploitative consumerism and drug use of both the prescribed and proscribed sort. If film’s social commentary can tend towards the preachy and its dialogue towards glib dramatic irony, Campos establishes a complex nexus of contemporary social and aesthetic concerns with impressive economy and Logan’s double performance is strong.

Author: Ben Walters
Time Out London Issue 1926: July 18-24 2007

About The Author

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BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in New York City, she studied voice, piano and cello, while honing her acting skills in after-school programs and summer camps, such as Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills. Chelsea has personified such roles as Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull, Lucy in Michael Frayn’s Alphabetical Order, and The Director in Luigi Pirandello’s Six Character’s in Search of an Author. In addition, she has performed in numerous works by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, and other Chekhovian plays, as well as several musical productions. At the age of 15, she traveled alone to Ghana, West Africa for one month, and documented her time there on film. Upon her return, she founded the first International Baccelaureate Film Festival for students across the globe. Her film was recognized at the 2004 CU2 Video and Film Festival and screened in Times Square at the Virgin Megastore movie theatre.

In addition to appearances on Veronica Mars and Mind of Mencia, Chelsea has worked on several independent features. She collaborated with Antonio Campos, starring as a young girl selling her virginity online, in “Buy It Now”, a film that garnered First Prize in the Cinefondation category at the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Cinevegas Film Festival as well as several other awards and accolades.   Additionally Chelsea played one of the lead roles in, “to.get.her”, directed by Erica Dunton, which went on to win the BEST OF NEXT Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, as well as nominations & awards at the Milan International Film Festival and RiverRun Festival amongst others.

In 2011, Chelsea graduated with honors with a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a drama major in the Stella Adler Studio with a Business of Entertainment Media minor from Stern Business School. She is currently living and working in Los Angeles and New York.