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Straight out of this year's SXSW, an enchanting tale of survival in an hostile planet.

10 – 15 | 2013 | Dystopia | Live-Action | Sci-Fi | USA

In  a not-so-distant future, a father and his teenage daughter are on an alien planet looking for precious materials. The wild and toxic nature that surrounds them is very hostile, and their days go by ever so tiring and lonely. Their search is grueling and all sorts of dangers seem to be lurking everywhere. One day, the girl’s father is attacked by a violent bandit, and it’s now her turn to take over the expedition.

Presented at this year’s SXSW, Prospect tells a dystopian story that combines a retro sci-fi feel with introspective and intimate themes. We don’t know much of the future that’s being portrayed, except that people are forced to venture into hostile planets hoping to find fortune and wealth. The strength of the short comes from the choice of abandoning the tropes of the genre, that usually sees characters living in post-apocalyptic, decadent urban environments, and setting the story in a pristine, almost magical nature. The space in which our protagonists move (a forest near Seattle) looks very familiar, but at the same time feels unknown, suspended in time.

Just like a Wild West of the future, these woods are like a new frontier to explore, the girl and her father act as two researchers of gold, and just like in traditional westerns, there are no laws , it’s a constant struggle in which only the strongest survive. On a stylistic level , the short seems to join a trend that sees  many directors reject ( for budget reasons or otherwise) blockbuster-like special effects, opting for more understated tones, mixing indie cinema’s elements with suggestions taken from 60s genre films. The costumes and the sets have a retrofuturistic feel, the (amazing) cinematography builds an intimate atmosphere, and the choice to shoot with anamorphic lenses to get a widescreen format clearly state the will of directors Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell (also,respectively, cinematographer and writer) to go back to a bygone cinema.

The juxtaposition of calm, reflective moments and sudden action scenes leaves room for character building. The dialogues between the father and the daughter are short and rare, but very intense, and help creat an emotional depth that is increasingly absent from contemporary science fiction.

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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