Stars: Nic English and Mandahla Rose
|This film was an official selection at the 10th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.|
As the film begins, Francoise is much more than half of a couple. She's an astronaut, a time traveller and the centre of a media frenzy. She was sent through a wormhole by the Planet Patrol to the near future, in a rather unlikely spacesuit of cloth and pearls, and she returns to a clamour of questions from the media which are suitably blurred together but all ask a variant of 'What happens to us?' Her clear reply is a dark one indeed: 'We all died,' she explains. While most short films might concentrate on how the apocalypse happens or what we can do to change it, this one remains steadfastly at the level of a young couple, who presumably mean the world to each other, and especially Francoise, who finds herself in a notably tough situation. Should she be with her husband in the future, where he may be the only other person still alive but at least is on the same page as her, or should she be with her husband in the past, where the rest of us still exist but he's struggling to recognise her after her experiences? That's a tough call.
I guess this approach makes it a romance, albeit hardly a standard one, but it's also a thoughtful piece of science fiction. Perhaps to aid the confusion that the lead character feels in such a situation, Schuppan is not of the mind to make things easy for us. He cuts back and forth between the Francoise and Vincent of the future and those of the past, so it's often difficult to be sure precisely which we're watching. This may well be deliberate, to conjure up that confusion and make us think about how we might respond in such a scenario, but it's still rather disorientating. The choice to concentrate on one couple disorientates us too, as the world ends in this film, in between scenes, while we have no idea as to why. I liked all this, though many won't. The downside for me was the credibility of Francoise's unlikely spacesuit and her launch into the future; I didn't buy her as an astronaut either. Perhaps it's not about space at all, it's a take on mental illness and escape, because really it's all about what we feel about our own pale blue dot.