Photography has long been a favourite subject of filmmakers. From Hitchcock’s iconic Rear Window [USA, 1954] to the modern classic City of God [Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund, 2002, USA] cameras have featured heavily in cinematic history. Tomorrow is a worthy addition to this tradition. Following two photographers on a trip through rural Ireland, Guvernor Sanchez’s (the directorial duo of Eoin McGovern and Mark McAuley) film provides a delicate look at the complex relationships in the lives of Simon and Scott.
Although focusing on two incredibly complex characters could risk overpopulating a short film, Tomorrow pulls it off. Some could argue that it risks skimming important subjects such as polyamory, paternity and non-binary sexuality. However, this lightness of touch does not over simplify these issues but, paradoxically, gestures to their immense complexity. This is because the film does not portend to give a deep portrayal of either Scott or Simon. Instead, it lets the incompleteness and the roughness of the ragged unfinished plots take centre stage. This sense of anti-omniscience is a real strength because it avoids the temptation to plonk situations and relationships into neatly wrapped but shallow boxes. Additionally, the refusal to end on a tidy coupled note makes this film a welcome rebel amongst countless predictable rom-coms.
The theme of photography is skilfully woven into these ideas of incompleteness. Scott and Simon discuss their profession, with Scott professing his passion for capturing a moment and revealing the truth of a person. In contrast, Simon claims to enjoy the protection the camera gives the person hiding behind the lens. This gives a clue to the film’s aim of revealing its characters whilst simultaneously keeping some things hidden.
It also adds another layer to the story by forcing the viewer question the form of film itself; this story is being captured by unknown people lurking behind cameras, the notion of the camera’s powers to hide and reveal brought to our attention. It makes you consider the stories of those involved in the film, and thus transforms those behind the cameras into hidden characters for the viewers to ponder over.
While many short films can be criticised for tackling too much too quickly, Tomorrow is an example of when big subjects in little time work well. Both McGovern and McAuley are clearly talented filmmakers with a keen eye for what a short piece can do.
'Tomorrow' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.