Love puts everything in focus. It extracts meaning from the blur of the world around and within us, it slows things down and gives us a better perspective. When you’re in love colors are brighter, sharper, more vibrant, trouble is easier to keep in its place and solutions are easier to discover. Love is a beacon and an anchor simultaneously, it illuminates a better path and keeps you grounded to it, on track, less susceptible to the distractions and obstacles that would cause you to veer off into darker, murkier, less certain territory. So I’ll amend myself: love doesn’t just put things in focus, love is focus, it is the manner by which we come to see life clearly, by which we strip away the detritus and hone in on the truly important things.
Philosophically this would seem to be the notion behind today’s short, Focus, a 2011 film from writer-director Ari Kruger. A man meets a woman. They fall in like, shortly followed by love. But as their time together progresses, she starts to lose focus. Physically. It starts in her fingers, little digital blurs, and spreads to the rest of her. And he is powerless to stop it.
A metaphor for the perspective-shifting wax and wane of modern relationships, Focus is an emotionally-concentrated and visually-stunning short, a poetic rumination of the ruination of all the vibrancy love brings to the world, a refusal of the clarity it grants us, all taken to quite literal extremes.
Narrated in voiceover and lacking internal dialogue, Focus is also a remembrance, a reflection, and as such it aches with the immediate realization that whatever’s wrong won’t be put right, that – like life – shit happens, love fades, and people move on. But in the inherent sadness of Focus there is the lifeline of understanding, of accepting the evolution of our relationships both for their rises and their falls, and accepting our responsibility in both the propulsion and arrest of love’s path. People fall in love. People fall out of love. Life continues, just a little out of focus. Until next time.
Clyde Berning and Abigail Parker are the actors and their chemistry is simultaneously comfortable and prickly, they fully inhabit the spectrum of emotions two people craft together, giving the film a more palpable tangibility, like we aren’t watching a story at all but a memory, possibly even our own.