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  Sky is On Fire, The Life Goes On
Year: 2019
Director: Emmanuel Van Der Auwera
Stars: Chazmeansman
Genre: Documentary, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: We approach images of Miami Florida as seen through the lens of a digital landscape, which has distorted them to render them as if in a state of decay, like they are melting. It could be any street in Miami, many streets in The United States, in fact, but as we draw closer, we get the impression this is about a specific time and place that is starting to tell us something about how the online world records the real one. Then a voice begins to explain his philosophy of precisely that...

Though it was not explicitly referenced in the short film, the time and place this was concerned with was Miami in the aftermath of a mass shooting, in this case the Parkland massacre, a school atrocity that killed seventeen people and injured seventeen more. This was director Emmanuel Van Der Auwera's reaction to that tragedy, though you would likely only realise that by looking up the piece online, which was all too apt when the twenty-first century desire for oblivion was captured on the internet.

This feeling that we are in the End Times is in no way special to the era the short was produced: Christians back in the early years of the first millennium were convinced Jesus Christ was about to return and smite all their adversaries before Him, destroying the world to live on in the Kingdom of Heaven. That didn't happen, but the apocalypse narrative has been part of world culture ever since, and this argues it is basically down to us being unable to imagine the world without us after we have passed on.

That narrator was typical of how one made one's impact on the consciousness of the globe now we were in the third millennium, he recorded a clip on his smartphone and uploaded it to social media. Now, he has an interesting point to make in that he believes we need not worry about the end of the world wiping out any trace of us, for the internet will be with us forever more and that will carry our thoughts and images till time's grand finale, whenever that may be. However, not everyone would be able to take this in since he was not the most articulate of fellows when it came to a narration, and many would be driven up the wall by his habit of interjecting the phrase "You know" into every sentence.

Often more than once, which could have you pondering that if the majority of global citizens' online presence is this amateurish, then sure, you get an impression of them, but they’re not going to be the easiest to listen to when this sort of informality rules whatever messages they wish to impart, be they earth-shattering or trivial. Indeed, the online ubiquity of these videos could very well make the earth-shattering trivial, not by design, but wholly accidentally. Nevertheless, the theme here that the end for you is not necessarily the end for everyone else was a valid one, and the rather ugly recreation of the area around Parkland as worked over by the app used to craft the visuals did have a strangely hypnotic effect as we flew aimlessly around it. Yet the yearning for absolute destruction was not a healthy impulse, and that was only addressed obliquely: too obliquely for many who might otherwise be captivated by the subject.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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