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Transmission – by Varun Raman and Tom Hancock

Welcome To Britannia. Together We Stand Alone.

15 – 20 | 2017 | Dystopia | Live-Action | Sci-Fi | UK

After a long and extremely successful run in the festival circuit, British dystopian short film Transmission is now available to watch online. The short, shot in 35mm, is the product of filmmaking duo Varun Raman and Tom Hancock, a.k.a. Parallel Madness.

In a not-too-distant future in Britannia (so has Britain been renamed), Leonard is kept prisoner in a claustrophobic cellar, under the controlling eye of cameras and the oppressive presence of a sadistic man named Dr. Sam (brilliantly played by James Hyland). The only way Leonard seems to be able to escape his oppressing prison, if only temporarily, are the idyllic landscapes he encounters within his own visions, the only place where he can meet a beloved woman who seems to belong to his past. But whenever he tries to escape, Leonard is abruptly brought back to reality by the vicious Dr Sam, spiraling back into the same nightmare every time.

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The initial inspiration for Transmission came to the directors at the height of the refugee crisis, which in a very brief time was followed by the election of Donald Trump, then by Brexit, and subsequently saw many other countries being hit by a worrying wave of neo-nationalism. This premise makes Transmission a chilling short film that explores the worrying and maybe not-so-dystopian consequences of Brexit, making it seem less of a remote possibility and more of a tangible threat- especially when thinking of just how rapidly the political landscape has changed in the last few years.

The surreal effect given by the alternation of dreams and reality, along with the stridently glorious classical music resounding in the cellar, recall Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange as well as Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to cite but a few. In addition to this, the 35mm film gives a vibrancy to the colours which is a good match to the fragmented, dreamlike structure of the narrative. In line with its cinematic influences, Transmission calls for a reflection on how easily things can change, in ways that we deem distant and unthinkable.


Federica Pugliese

Federica Pugliese

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