Monday, November 9, 2015

Sumer






Huh... looks like I skipped October all together...

Sorry about that. Honestly, I'm as shocked as you. Oh well, let's get back to it. Okay, so Sumer is a short film by Writer/Director Alvaro Garcia. I've never heard of him, but that doesn't mean anything, because I don't really follow these type of things. He could be very well known, or this could maybe even be his first film. It doesn't really matter, because we're gonna watch this either way.

Here's the (rather long-winded) synopsis: 

For unknown reasons, the Earth's ionosphere has weakened dramatically during the course of the last century, resulting in the collapse of the entire ecosystem. Earth has become an increasingly hostile and uninhabitable place and with no shield to protect it, it is at the full mercy of meteors.

All animal and plant species perished decades ago. All that remains is one small group of humans who attempt to resist the hostility and hardness of the external environment from SUMER, the last hive city in the world, which has been specifically designed to keep the population alive through oxygen supply systems.

The media manipulates the available information in a manner that is purposely designed to keep people obsessed on the potential of the space exodus, letting any hope of prevailing on earth go.

A young boy, Hermes, lives alone in a compartment, the property of the government, which is located close to the wall that delimits the city, an area that is highly guarded by the SSW (SUMER Security Watchers).

While observing the desert from the roof of a building, Hermes suddenly sees something that grabs his attention…

Okay, then...


Now, this isn't a poorly made short film, not at all, not in the technical sense, at least. It looks great, in fact. Sure, maybe it's a little dark, but that's kind of the world it lives in, so no biggie, I guess. And while there's an argument to be made for the audience to be able to clearly see this world you're creating, whatever, it's not that dark.

It's not a real problem; it's more an annoying aesthetic choice.

No, the real problem with this short film is that yet again, the actual meat of the story is only told in the synopsis. In fact, without the synopsis, if all you saw was the short film itself, then you'd have almost zero idea what was at stake here. You wouldn't know why anything is happening, what the city was about, why the main character can't leave, you wouldn't even know what planet they're on... shit, you wouldn't even know the main character's name. I mean, on one hand, yeah, there's a straight-forward aspect to the story that you can fill in for yourself: "Boy lives in Oppressive Regime, and runs for Freedom". Done. But what is that? It's generic bullshit, is what it is. It's certainly not a good story. And really, why should you even have to do that? It's a story, tell the whole story. I get that it's a short film, that the genre is by definition limiting, and that the main hurdle is the unforgiving amount of time, especially when it comes to the complexity of the narrative.

But that should be the challenge, right?

Beating the time limit should be the hallmark of success, right? Can you tell your story. a full and complete story, in so little time? If you can, that's when you know that you've done something good. Unfortunately, Sumer doesn't do this.

In the end, the film is pretty to look at, but it just doesn't have much else going for it.

Jon


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