In LA, a young man is looking for ways not to be sad. A perpetually between-work videographer, he has left the city and is searching for jobs in the desert suburbs. He has been told he can make money his own way, but with each person he meets this seems less and less likely. Tomorrow, he laments, he must go and spy on his landlord’s ex-wife.
In LA, a young woman is helping others not to be sad. A professional live-streamer, she has moved into a concrete box and lives a reality built only from the stories that people send her. She is paid to perform other people’s pain, but not sure what to do with her own. Tomorrow, she resolves, she will leave her box and eat a steak.
La Tijera is the first feature-length film by writer-directors Steven Ounanian and Jo Wardrop, based on the time they lived above a furniture warehouse in LA. The film embraces and confronts an emerging era of precarious labour and its effect on our mental health, where the computer screen has supplanted the silver screen’s century of power over our dreams and ideals.
In La Tijera, we aimed to capture a particular type of alienation produced by the temporary labour market and gig economy, where the screen plays an increasingly important role in every aspect of life. The screen is a friend. The screen is a source of income. The screen is a connection to reality we don’t fully believe in.
The characters in La Tijera live in their own individual genres, like they’ve stepped out of their own personal TV shows; they don’t seem to have any shared sense of reality. These fractured identities are brought together as a way of investigating the disorienting and ultimately disappointing quality of ‘phone-life’.
La Tijera, refers to a street in Los Angeles, but the film is a portrait of Southern California life as seen through the screen; it’s where you get to, if you scroll long enough.
LA TIJERA COPYRIGHT © MMXIX WARDROP AND OUNANIAN