“The sky above Neo-Berlin has the color of a broken television.”
A city, wrapped in darkness and smoke and drenched by eternal rain.
Against this dark, grey background, we see blinking lights, dingy, badly lit signs in strange languages, and flying cars.
It’s like it’s the Eighties once again and we’ve wandered into the one theater in town showing the new science fiction film we read about in Starlog…
Nicola Piovesan is an Italian film director living in Estonia who has a series of eccentric short films to his credit. As he put it in his Kickstarter video for the film, he makes one goofy film a year and has shown films at over 100 festivals and won over sixty awards — but is still nobody.
This time around, he decided he wanted to make a film without any CGI, like those they made back in the Eighties, and started building his models.
The result is awe-inspiring. Yes, you can tell it’s a model, but it is a smoky, rainswept Film Noir future city right out of Blade Runner (or, perhaps more accurately, one of the many Eighties films with copied its look). While he did composite everything digitally (and it isn’t like you can even find an optical printer anymore), everything we see in the film outside of its cyberspace sequences (which use some very Eighties looking vector animation) existed as a real model.
Including those cyber octopuses (he rejects “octopi” as the plural because the word doesn’t come from Latin), which are even stop motion animated in some scenes.
And you don’t get more Eighties than that.
His cast and crew were truly international and film overflows with different languages in a few scenes, even if the film is primarily in English. This does make Edoardo Lomazzi’s narration rather hard to follow at times because of his heavy accent, and a few of the other characters are difficult to understand as well, but it is never so bad that you can’t enjoy the film.
Plus we get a few great lines like, “Do cyberoctopusses dream of electric shrimp?”
The only real complaint I have is that there just isn’t enough of it. Yes, the story he tells is complete, and as complicated as his running time will allow, and the story does tie it all up nicely. But it still leaves you wanting more, and I would love to see a feature length film set in this same world.
But let’s be honest: with a film which manages to cram in such classic Science Fiction tropes as cyberspace, a noir-ish future, robotic monsters, addictive digital drugs, a corporate controlled future, cybernetics, virtual reality, a hard-boiled ex-cop turned private detective, flying cars, and lots of laser pistols, the real question is, how did they fit all that into twenty minutes?
Right now, the only way to see it is to buy it directly from the film’s website. But if you love the classic Sci Fi films of the Eighties, or films with practical effects, or atmospheric and imaginative science fiction, then it is definitely worth a look.