Nerenberg’s documentary “Boredom” is one of over 300 films being shown at the 41st edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, running from October 10-21st in venues around downtown Montreal. The film comes on the heels of Nerenberg’s previous projects, Laughology and Stupidity.
“My specialty is finding topics that are so obvious that nobody thinks about them,” Nerenberg said.
“I was surprised to learn that boredom was really an unstudied topic. You’d think there would be a lot of research about it, but it’s really a mystery.”
Nerenberg said that the film was prompted by a study that revealed that boredom was actually a stress condition.
“The moment you become bored, there is an increase in cortisol, which is a stress hormone,” he explained.
This, in turn, can lead to high-risk behaviours, divorces, and even crimes. The film begins with the 2011 London riots, which, although they were started for political reasons, were spread partly by – you guessed it – boredom.
“All these kids were just bored and wanted to do something,” Nerenberg explained.
Nerenberg places a lot of the blame for our bored state on two factors: the prevalence of smart phones and technology, which shorten attention spans, and on the education system, which he describes as “structurally boring.”
“I remember being late to a talk I had to give at a CEGEP, so I had to rush down the hall to find the class I was speaking in. I was looking in every classroom, and I kept seeing row upon row of incredibly bored-looking, sullen kids. And I couldn’t believe how bored everyone looked, and it kind of amazed me,” he said.
Nerenberg places a lot of the blame for our bored state on two factors: the prevalence of smart phones and technology, which shorten attention spans, and on the education system, which he describes as “structurally boring.” -
Despite making the case that boredom is a serious phenomenon, Nerenberg describes his film as a comedy.
“It’s a funny film, because you can’t take it entirely seriously,” he said. “It’s something everybody has experienced.”
In addition to showing Boredom, Nerenberg will be doing a live show at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema. In this event, called Hypnotic, Nerenberg will hypnotise a live audience, while explaining to them exactly what he is doing to help them understand the process.
The goal, Nerenberg says, is to help clarify the misconceptions about hypnosis.
“It should be a very positive experience; ultimately a deep relaxation,” he said.
To Nerenberg, festivals like Nouveau Cinema are one of the perks of working in Montreal. After spending a decade in Toronto, he returned to the province five years ago, settling with his family in the Eastern Townships.
“A lot of people thought I was insane for coming back,” he said, “But I really feel like the quality of life is better here. I feel like it’s been the right thing.”
For the complete schedule of the FNC log on to: http://www.nouveaucinema.ca