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Distance [Richard Schertzer, United States, 2020]

In the opening scene of the short film Distance, director Richard Schertzer manages to accurately capture the feeling of solitude, quietness, and loneliness produced by a pandemic. Although the action takes place in a dystopian future and on a distant planet, it correlates with familiar problems of the present. In this hostile environment we find main character, Bonnie Whitmore, hiding out in the woods searching for her missing son when she encounters a young man with a secret.

One of Distance’s strong points is that Schertzer edits the whole movie with transitional shots of beautiful, bucolic landscapes. These shots provide cohesion and work well to translate the isolation experienced by the characters. The soundtrack is perfectly chosen too, creating a negative atmosphere full of agitation.

The sound editing in some parts feels unnatural, however, with some scenes clearly recorded using different devices. There is also a lack of quality in some of the post-production work, for example in the scene where Bonnie arrives in the futuristic city. Here, the digital treatment of the original shot is easily perceptible.

It is impossible not to make draw parallels between this imaginary story and the present-day situation provoked by the Covid-19 virus. The fact that the film is set in the future is perhaps a trivial allegorical touch, but is effective nonetheless. The storytelling could be improved, but there are certainly glimmers of promise in this young filmmaker’s work.


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