Why Watch? At the opening of this short film from Michael DiBiasio, a young woman (Rebecca De Ornelas) obsessively tucks her hair behind her ear, gets a text message and then tentatively heads for her front door. It’s a sequence that becomes overbearingly familiar as she experiences a series of hollow social encounters filled with literally blank faces.
Where Groundhog Day set out to make repeated sequences entertaining and fresh, Multiverse uses quiet echoes for an opposite, alienating effect. Coupled with an agoraphobic’s eye view of abjectly meaningless jaunts into generic parties and bar scenes, we get to share in her angst to the point where tossing on some stretchy pants and staying in feels like a damned fine idea.
The editing also aids the disconnected feeling — shooting us from the doorknob straight into the middle of a crowd — and the cinematography keeps focus on De Ornelas while almost always framing her slightly off-center (not to mention she’s the only set of eyes we get to see). She is unmistakably alone and surrounded.
This is a great example of transforming something benign into a nerve-gripping trial. Heading down a hallway becomes the space walk from 2001. Going to see a comedian becomes the grownup version of dreaming you’re naked in school.
By the end, you can easily imagine Franz Kafka watching this, putting his arm fraternally around DiBiasio and then buying him a beer.
What Will It Cost? About 7 minutes.