In three minutes, the world will end
After watching the numerous doomsday scenarios turned into Hollywood blockbusters, you may already be exhausted organizing an ever-growing pile of survival guides. However, disaster films are still playing a significant role in emphasizing humanity’s fragility and generating in-depth discussions among its audience. And 02:09 is one of them.
Directed by Svante Fjaestad, 02:09 starts with the end. With moody colors, it paints a world that soon will perish. The rich (and their pets) have left Earth; those who couldn’t afford private shuttles are stranded. A couple watches the last human refugees leave the planet before it is too late. In just four minutes, the director asks the audience questions such as: Can you afford to stay alive? What would you do if you are the last human being in the world? What will it feel like, watching others take off to safety? What will life be like in the new world?
The film points at a widely discussed social problem, the wealth inequality. Even though governments are making efforts to decrease inequality, the wealth gap is steadily growing every year. Another point is that we are still weak when confronting natural disasters, despite millions of years of evolution leading to the top of the food chain and clever inventions. Although technology offers an option to escape, it’s limited to people who can afford it. This is an ironic phenomenon in 02:09 since technology claims to eliminate the inequality between different classes.
The outcome for the poor is a gloomy wait for the end. A couple on a rooftop, reminiscing about unachieved dreams and lamenting about the human future. After all, the only thing they can do is to wish their wealthy friends good luck and humanity eternal life.
Highlights of 02:09:
Unlike many other science fiction films, 02:09 is set in China. And instead of using multiple storylines and intricate camera techniques, this short Chinese-language VR-narrative uses a fixed camera to capture the dialogue between the couple at an arm’s length. Besides some really well-done visual effects, the audio/visual experience is quite remarkable. How will the world end? Watch 02:09 and experience it yourself.
Xie: I thought we would have more time
Chen: Soon we will have all the time in the world.
Xie: it’s beautiful.
“The rain in the film was the beginning of the great flood of summer 2017 in Hunan. Many lives were lost shortly after filming. Perhaps the film will add a small part to the collective memory of this event. Natural disasters are very scary. I experienced the tsunami of 2004 at close range. Sometimes the threats come from underground, sometimes from above and sometimes from within ourselves. Let’s take care of each other.”