Hello there, and welcome to Today’s Short, where we go over short films in the genres of both science fiction and fantasy.
Today’s short film, or films in this case, are those of the Lost Memories series on Vimeo. Let’s take a look!
I find myself in an interesting position, in that I watched the sequel, Lost Memories 2.0, before finding the first. 2.0 was yet another Short of the Week discovery and, again, a French film. I’m going to review both with minimal spoilers, but first let’s talk plot: in a world dominated by augmented reality and digitized communication, a man and a woman are pulled apart by their differing opinions on what’s worth doing, being, living for. Then, in both films, the augmented network, referred to as “the Cloud” is deactivated. After that, what’s left? That’s the question these films are here to answer.
First off, I can safely say that both of these are good and worth watching. However, they are such in different degrees and I would argue that only one of them is necessary, that being 2.0, the sequel. Yeah, you don’t see that every day. That’s not to say the original is bad; it isn’t, at all. But the fact of the matter is that, in viewing 2.0 first, I found myself looking at the original Lost Memories and thinking, “Wow, so the first one is great, but it wants to be the second.”
Let me explain: have you ever had an idea as an artist, any form of creative type, and not had the resources to create exactly what you want? Whether it’s budgetary issues, actors, sets, whatever, you may not have them but still want to convey a deeper message, theme, etc. So, you use what you have. And when you do, you can often work magic. That’s what we have in the first Lost Memories: a great idea that it well-executed according to what’s available to the creator. And believe me, I’d be proud of that.
Now, what we have in the sequel, Lost Memories 2.0, is something very interesting. The film’s point, its message, its communication, is essentially the same as its predecessor. The difference between the two is not in their objective, rather their progression. The actual pathway to the end of each film is different, but the goal is the same. I’m being quite frugal in details on this, but I’ll nudge this a little further: in the first short, we had one example of the kind of loss one can have if they become too obsessed with something that isn’t there, which is essentially what Lost Memories is about. It’s not about a “memory wipe” or losing one’s past, rather their future, the future they could’ve had. So, what do we have to illustrate this in the sequel? Two to three key examples depending on how we specify them, and they’re great ones, too.
Again, since the most intriguing aspect of these stories (particularly 2.0) is the journey as opposed to the destination, I won’t spoil specifics, but I will tell you that the three kinds of loss that are most heavily explored on a subjective level are life, love and purpose, which all intermingle between the three examples (one of which is a narrative monologue while the other two are conversations).
So yes, Lost Memories is quite interesting as far as its story is concerned, thought-provoking even. That being said, I’ll say this: I was a little off-put at first. Director Francois Ferracci was a visual effects supervisor on two feature films (2006’s The Green Hornet and 2011’s The Prey), so it’s easy to understand why he chose the utilize effects to a high degree in his own work. However, this was very distracting, so much so that I was going to consider this a “spectacle-over-substance” picture…
…in the beginning. However, as the film continued, I began to realize that Ferracci was doing this to make a point. And, to be frank, I now believe it was a highly intelligent decision on his part. Technology blinds people in this world. It is a distraction, it is an escape, and so it does the very same thing to us as it does to our characters. We’re so obsessed with the superficial beauty of Lost‘s effects we temporarily lose sight of the narrative. It’s only in the middle of the film after an abrupt breakaway from brief sexual interaction that we are finally positioned past the computer graphics and we really get a good look at people’s faces. And thank goodness we’re met, at this point, by some fantastic dialogue, otherwise it might have not been worth the trouble.
Yes, the dialogue is fantastic and it is delivered perfectly, and naturally, by the three main cast members. Luka Kellou’s grief as Marc is distinctly naïve, conveying a lack of thought behind it, so much disorder, while Jeanne-Marie Ducarre’s Melissa, in contrast, carries a certainty in her sorrow, a real understanding of what her pain is and how to get rid of it. And then there is of course Magali Heu as Karen, with dialogue given just as powerfully as her co-stars, if not more so. It’s funny how, with each new character, we see a rise in certainty, and with them a gradual increase in the story’s space in terms of pacing. In the beginning, things are fast and chaotic, but by the end…
…again, I don’t want to give anything away, you just have to see it for yourself. I’ll leave you with one last point: at the end there is discussion regarding the natural and the unnatural, the artificial and the real, and the subtlety employed during this scene in terms of filming, editing, performance, direction, music, the whole combination…
Thank you for reading.
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