Affections Examines Isolation in the Modern Age with Quirk and Heart

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Short of the Day

If you don’t already know it, remember the name Bridey Elliott.

The modern world does a lot to alienate affection. While social media, on-the-fly communications like texts and snaps, and technology in general are supposed to bring us together, the way they do doesn’t actually get us together as much as it keeps us in constant, mundane contact with one another. We share ourselves in print, in media, butin effect that is a projection of ourselves and not really the people we are on a second-to-second basis, which means that the ensuing connections we make through these means aren’t really connections at all as much as they are links, the difference being actual connectivity and not just personal clickbait. As a result, though we’re closer to each other on a surface level, we’re actually sliding further apart by using technology and whatnot to forge our relationships. It basically comes down to quantity versus quality; you have more friends, but they’re not real friends.

All this is to say that genuine affection has been diluted by emojis and likes, favorites, shares, and other such rote displays that are a poor substitute for actual, loving, human contact. It can be desensitizing, all the false affection in our modern age, and it can leave real people searching for real affection from those who might not have it to give.

Such a dilemma is at the heart of Affections, a short film from writer-director-actress Bridey Elliott, one of the stars of Fort Tilden, which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW’s 2014 festival. She portrays a young woman in search of affection and finding it nowhere – not from her live-in boyfriend, not from the strangers she engages in intimate conversations, not even really in her fantasies. When her hairdresser suggests what she might need is a good, old-fashioned affair, she latches onto the idea and sets about making it happen to see if there’s still some affection in the world.

This is all Elliott, from the quirky character design to her endearingly-awkward performance. All of us, every single one, has felt the loneliness she personifies, and all of us, every single one, have at the least contemplated some extreme measures when it comes to getting what we need, emotionally, from other people. Like Her without the phone, Affections is a soft-spoken musing on isolation in the modern age, how in a world overflowing with people and ways to meet them we can still feel out of touch with our surroundings. This is a really beautiful film, and another one that premiered online at Nobudge.com, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite websites. Check the short out, check the site out, and keep your eyes and ears open for more from Bridey Elliott, she’s the real deal and primed to breakthrough.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist