Aningaaqis the companion to Gravity that fills in the visual space on the other end of Ryan Stone’s last-grasp radio call, and it breathes cold air into an isolated, unhappy story. Directed by Jonas Cuaron, it has the potential to be powerful, but probably not for anyone who hasn’t seen Alfonso Cuaron’s feature.
Some have said that it should have been included in the movie — either at the very beginning or in real-time — but I just don’t see it. Part of what made Gravity so powerful was that we were never allowed to escape the environment. There was no safety release valve of flashing down to Houston to see what they were up to and no breather in the form of exposition from Stone’s past life. Including this short (or any shots on earth) would have broken the spell. Luckily we get to see it regardless.
It’s also interesting that the team is submitting this short for Oscar consideration, meaning that it has a shot at making history alongside its all-but-guaranteed-a-nomination big brother. It’s a melancholy bit of storytelling with its own thoughtfulness and purpose, to be sure, but on the awards front there are plenty of other shorts that surpass it. Granted, I watch thousands of short films a year, but the buzz on this is coming purely from the depth of the feature film’s popularity.
At any rate, it’s a beautiful bite of snow that also represents an encouraging shift in the way stories are told and the access we have to them.
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