Plug (1998)

Back in 2000, the SciFi Network (yes, they spelled it right back then) had a short-lived short film show called Exposure.  It showed a mixture of SF, horror, fantasy and experimental films.

It was one of those shows I always taped because of the large amount of padding – and because there really weren’t a lot of good SF shorts in the mix.  Usually, you’d find one good short per episode, although there was no guarantee of that.

Still, they did manage to find quite a few interesting ones, like Bobby Loves Mangoes and George Lucas in Love.

One of my personal favorites was this ten-minute short directed by Meher Gourjian, who uses a video-to-animation trick for his actors against a beautifully realized, tech-heavy CGI future.  While he claimed to have based the story on  E.M. Forster’s short story “The Machine Stops” there really isn’t that much of a resemblance, beyond the idea of people cut off from everyone else around them.  Not that it matters as he puts together a beautiful tragic romance set against a culture where we are in the terminal stages of entertaining ourselves to death (to borrow Neil Postman’s phrase), complete with virtual reality and a hovercraft chase through a dense tangle of industrial wilderness.

It’s stunning, visually complex, with great sound editing, use of color and attention to detail – and it manages to say a lot without ever using a single word.

Sadly, like a lot of promising young directors, Meher Gourjian has largely disappeared, with mostly SFX credits to his name.

But that’s no reason to miss this remarkable short film.

(For more short film reviews, see here.)


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