Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Brent Bonacorso’s cerebral sci-fi drama The Narrow World.
The Plot: A giant alien creature lands in Los Angeles and mankind finds itself with more questions than answers.
The Narrow World follows a group of scientists as they try to unravel the enigma of the alien’s purpose. That setup may have the sound of a schlocky ‘alien invasion’ film – the sort where evil E.T.s are out to destroy Earth and an all out battle for the future of humanity must ensue – but surfaces can be deceiving. Bonacorso subverts the film’s familiar setup by positing his invader as a passive observer. His alien doesn’t attack Earth. Nor does it communicate in any way, shape or form. In fact, it doesn’t do much of anything but walk and watch.
The creature’s seeming indifference to mankind then leads to much bigger questions. It’s the film’s questions and characters then that transform The Narrow World‘s narrative from a silly ‘alien invasion’ drama into an intimate character study. That narrative unfolds in a pseudo-documentary style that radiates with authenticity while balancing the film’s stark human drama with its bold CGI spectacle.
And make no mistake, The Narrow World will not disappoint when it comes to spectacle. Few sci-fi shorts look as real or feel as complete as The Narrow World. Even fewer characters feel as authentic. Bonacorso’s vivid, observant screenplay focuses those elements into a singular cinematic vision. The Narrow World has the look of a blockbuster and the heart of an indie drama. That Bonacorso finds balance in the film’s dueling personas is the director’s greatest achievement.
Like the best science fiction stories, The Narrow World demands that we look inward to understand outward anomalies. And like the best sci-fi stories, it offers no easy explanation for what’s in there. Even if Bonacorso loses a little of that focus in the film’s twisty finale, The Narrow World remains a compelling bit of cerebral science fiction that’s more than worthy of exploration. And it’s one that proves just as rewarding upon second viewing.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Brent Bonacorso Starring: Julia Cavanaugh, Karim Saleh & Scott Bailey Gagain Cinematography by: Magdalena Górka Visual Effects by: Brent Bonacorso & Eric Smit Edited by: Jack Pyland Music by: Cedie Jansen
I hope you enjoy The Narrow World! I hope you’re taking note of Brent Bonacorso’s name too. The director’s visual acumen alone should land him on your ‘directors to watch list’. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long to see what he does next. After wrapping production on The Narrow World, Bonacorso went straight to work on his debut feature. It’s called You Get Me. It stars Bella Thorne and Halston Sage. And it hits theaters in just a few weeks – June 16 to be exact – so keep an eye out. Of course if you can’t wait that long, you can always check out Bonacorso’s prior work over at his Vimeo page. FYI – his 2010 short West Of The Moon is well worth a look. While you’re kicking around, check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.