Out in the desert, Akon walks in the sand. He picks up sand in his fingers and lets it slip from his fingers. Meanwhile, his friend watches in him in the background and puts his hands out, enjoying every minute of life.
The volume of the music is lowered as Akon’s agent pounds on the door of his trailer. Akon’s manager shows him a video of a person dressed as a chicken walking down a street. Both he and his manager laugh.
A year earlier, a person left their home in the suburbs, on a skateboard. Passing over a bridge in a rural area, the journey was mostly solitary. However, the person hit the next heavily populated city. A young man films the person on his cellphone. As he posts it on Youtube, he laughs at the person, thinking they are a freak.
The video goes viral, immediately hitting millions of views. People everywhere on watching the person travel by skateboard on their phones. The person rides by on the highway and through a beach town, unaware of the attention.
Memes making fun of the person are being posted on social media by the time he as he passes by a convenience store. A woman, standing up in a vintage car, flashes the person with a message of encouragement on her stomach: “Go Chicken Go!”
When the person reaches the next city, a reporter is waiting. The reporter and cameramen spot the person and chase after the person, yelling questions. Newspapers start writing stories. A man on the news, with a handmade sign reading “God Hates All Chickens” tries to justify the murders of chickens on a neighbor’s farm. At a barbershop, people look up from their newspapers and their drinks to watch a cable news channel think of theories of why the person is traveling cross country. Meanwhile, a man asks to have the chicken’s head shaved in his scalp.
Newspapers are now saying it’s been a year. The person has been on the Vogue magazine and Fly Magazine. The person has spawned a movement, coining the next decade of young adults as “Generation C.”
A popular website has sprouted up, called VentChicken.org as well as a game called Chickflip. In Japan, the person has become a pop culture figure, featured in a music video. Chickfeet.com keeps up with all the latest updates, tracking where the person has been.
At a telephone booth, a man looks up from his magazine (featuring the person) and clamors for an autograph. The manager reads the paper while Akon’s friend drinks a chicken-inspired drink. The person has become a marketing tool for companies wanting to capitalize on the thirst and fatigue of walking all day long.
A man watches the commercial on his tube television and hits it, attempting to unscramble the screen. People are following him as he treks through a rural area. The person stops a mobile home and rings the doorbell.
A young man on a bike, who has been following the person, puts his arms out, signaling everyone to stop. An older man opens the door, cursing and shouting at the person. After a pause, the person offers the older man food. He takes it and shuts the door on him.
The people who have been following him are let down, thinking “that’s it?” They begin to leave. A woman, in a wheelchair, lingers, not wanting to give up. However, the man watching the television is cheering the person on for achieving their goal. The person removes the head part of the costume and takes out their headphones. It was a young man. Stunned, the man watches the people who followed fade into the distance.
Akon and his friend hold onto their each other, racing to the bottom of the hill. Akon hugs his friend.
A young man’s journey becomes a fascination for many. It was something he had to do on his own, without telling anyone. He didn’t expect to become a pop culture phenomen nor was he looking for media attention.
However, he becomes a symbol’s of people’s projections and insecurities: some people mock him, believing something must be wrong. Others think there is something gnawing at him to do it and they root for him. It also gets politicized to the point that anti-chicken hate groups are formed and he becomes idolized. Meanwhile, businesses profits off his journey, tying in energy drinks. The media, though, uses him for clicks and ratings, being armchair psychologists, diagnosing him from their air-conditioned studios.
The video brings up subtle and relevant points about the prevalence of the media, latching onto a story and not letting it go, obsession with technology and idolizing strangers. When he reaches the front door, the people who have been following are disappointed, believing they are entitled to more. However, they don’t reach out to him, they simply leave. What did they expect?
It was a young man’s journey. He wanted to be left alone and spoke to no one. It was everyone else who turned it into their business.
Director: Chehad Abdallah Year: 2016
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