Short of the Day
Anyone wanna puff on some Unicorn Blood?
I don’t mean to offend anyone, but vaping is the fucking worst. I tried it once when I was in the process of quitting smoking, and I felt like that caterpillar who sits on the mushroom in Alice in Wonderland: a giant tool. Vaping is cancer for people who aren’t resolved enough to give it to themselves the old-fashioned way, and it is the habit-equivalent of drinking birthday-cake-flavored vodka or wearing a scarf with a t-shirt – vain, attention-seeking, obnoxious, and absolutely pointless.
Regardless of my opinion, though, vaping is all the rage these days. You can’t walk through a club, bar, or the parking lot outside a Forever 21 without catching a faceful of Zeus Juice, Unicorn Blood, or some other cloyingly sweet cloud of synthesized oil. It’s more than a habit, it’s a movement, and hopefully one that will move a little closer to the edge of any cliff.
In the following short film Vape from writer-director-editor Doron Max Hagay, this culture of candy-inhaling is parodied with serious subtext via the story of Shelly (Molly Hawkey), a Los Angeles-based realtor who drifts into the habit thanks to a hunky, smoke-talking mechanic, and watches as it quickly takes over her admittedly-stalled life.
While no doubt a comedy, Hagay has peppered his film with that ennui particular to contemporary culture and uses the habit of vaping as a reflection of the haze in which his main character finds herself: sweet and satisfying but made of nothing, ready to dissipate as soon as it’s created. Hawkey is pitch-perfect in the role, presenting Shelly as an intelligent but somewhat befuddled cloud of smoke herself, drifting this way and that at the same time, searching for a place to settle. Add to this the intimate cinematography of Arlene Muller and a kitchy, catchy synth-driven soundtrack and the result is a mockingly introspective look at life, culture, and the stupid, stupid things we do because they feel good, look cool, or everyone else is doing it.