It is the start of a new year, and with that a new batch of short films to look forward to over the course of the next 12 months. As it is with this time of year, every year, we begin to think about award season and the celebration of all the great content that arrived over the past year. It is with this sense of celebration in mind that I thought I would post one of the short films shortlisted for the Academy Awards, a list announced back in November. Record/Play is without a doubt one of the most moving pieces of sci-fi I have seen in the short film medium in quite some time, and a highlight from this years shortlist.
Director Jesse Atlas has had a very successful career as an editor for both music videos and commercials, and he absolutely shines in his writing and direction with this story. This is his second short (his first “Now and Nowhere” is also quite exceptional), and with it he shows a careful eye to detail that can easily predict an excellent future in film-making. Then there are the leads. The two main stars, Mustafa Shakir and Deepti Gupta are incredibly moving in this tale of love lost, tragedy, and pure and utter heartbreak, all reignited by the magic of space and time. They capture so much emotion with very little dialogue that you can feel the pain as you watch. Shakir, especially, shows so much torment and conviction in his eyes that I hope we see plenty more from him in the future.
The idea of time travel and the longing to fix past events has been covered many times by many different film makers. Probably the best look at time travel is Shane Carruth’s mind-bending film Primer. Yet I would with little hesitation put Record/Play within this upper echelon of films. It is not hyperbole to say that it may be one of the most touching and heady pieces of time travel fiction since Carruth’s 2004 film.
I don’t want to spoil the events of the short so all I can do is ask you to watch it. It is worth so much more than the 11 minutes of time you need to have set aside. Here’s hoping Atlas sails past the shortlist and into Oscar gold in the months ahead.