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The Orca [Diego Rossi, Brazil, 2020]

Orcas are one of the fastest and most dangerous marine mammals. It makes sense, then, that writer and director Diego Rossi chooses this particular predator to title the deadly deeds of this short film. But rather than taking place below the waves, we find ourselves floating far, far above them in an intergalactic spaceship, as two former colleagues confront an old betrayal.

Stanley Schamlos is about to become the biggest cheese in the whole galaxy thanks to his invention of warp speed travelling. But is it really his? The so-called genius’s game of blackjack is interrupted by Doanel Pauvres, who claims that it was in fact he who came up with the theory. As the plot develops, we realise that this interaction is no coincidence and Pauvres’ revenge is far more serious than beating Schamlos at cards.

It is also difficult to immerse oneself within the story because the set is unconvincing. Although the lavish casino, reminiscent of a 1960s James Bond-esque glamour, could provide an interesting contrast to the futuristic setting, the strung up sheets and village hall style doors prevent the viewer from fully suspending their disbelief. The same goes for the costumes: bar staff in boiler suits with neon nose strips and simpering cyber chicks clad in PVC now looks incredibly dated. What is most enticing about some films set far into the future is the imagined aesthetics - see Her [Spike Jonze, USA, 2013] or Black Mirror [UK, 2011-] for examples. When this doesn’t work, the film misses out on a lot of its attraction.

The Orca has a lot of potential for exploring the future potentials of travel. If it had focused on this rather than honing in on two unappealing and uninteresting characters, it could’ve been a much more innovative and original short.


'The Orca' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2020.


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