a short film about black holes and existential dread
shortlisted for Quantum Shorts 2019 prize
best comedy winner at Short Film Reviews
our review from Short Film Reviews:
The BBC’s flagship film programme with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo is not for everyone, true, but it has its moments. One of many tropes is Werner Herzog’ line quoting Nietzsche: “When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back into you” (best heard in Sanjeev Bhaskar’s impression of Herzog’s chilling Germanic tones).
I was reminded of the quote by this lively comedy from Noemi Gunea and Grace Lambert, aka Cheap Thrills. They play themselves having a paranoid crisis at a knock on their flat door. The viewpoint is entirely back at them through the door security lens. The closer they approach to peer out, the more the fisheye warps their faces and illustrates their paranoia.
They dare not open the door – Noemi thinks she will be sucked into a black hole, and it’s her words, and her slight accent, that call Herzog to mind. Grace idly chews an apple as Noemi sinks into existential terror of annihilation at the event horizon: “The spaghettification of everything. You, me, the apple, the void”.
Grace thinks the caller is benign, until it gives a single knock for “yes” to her question “Will you harm us?”
What can they do when entropy, universal heat-death, and the inevitable destruction of 4-dimensional spacetime are nigh? The Ketchup Song dance of course! They’ve probably been doing it since they were six, why stop for a mere black hole? Dancing may not save us, but it will fend off despair, and make the abyss a happier place.
It’s all kept simple, but it’s tightly rehearsed, while retaining the pair’s natural comic timing. And it’s deeper than a mere sketch, for this tiny funny film actually answers the existential conundrum of how to live in a doomed universe bereft of essential meaning. Dance and be happy? That’s one knock for yes.
Noemi and Grace know this. I wonder if they know they know it?
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March 8, 2016