Sunday, 30 November 2014

Undo

Undo; science-fiction drama short, Croatia, 2014; D: Vedran Pavličević, S: Sven Jakir, Matea Koller, Vedran Knez, Bojana Benić, Marko Dabelić

A guy is running through the streets towards his girlfriend, but only finds an empty bus station - she left in the car of another guy just seconds ago. He decides to sit on the bench and wait for the bus. He finds a computer keyboard on the floor, presses the "undo" button - and finds out it can undo events a couple of minutes ago. The bicycle man who passed by him passes again; a girl who walked pass him, passes again... The guy thus decides to press the button ever further, hoping to turnabout the time, up until the point before his girlfriend left. He manages, but at a terrible cost - the two timeline events clash, and he is hit by a car and killed.

In his directorial debut, Vedran Pavlicevic showed a remarkable sense for filmmaking and a sure director's hand in compiling events into a harmonius whole. "Undo" is a sharp, well made short, a film without any dialogues or character names, where the viewers get just enough data to figure what is going on. Even though it may be classified as a time travel film, it is more of a symbolic, imaginative "what if?" concept which explores what would happen if a guy would discover a PC keyboard that could "undo" real life events, just as it is done to correct a mistake while writing on a PC document. This is a minimalist film, and done with weight. The scene where a girl, some passer-bys and a bicycle man pass by the protagonist sitting on the bench, and he presses "CTRL + Z" on the keyboard, upon which the same girl, the same passer-bys and the same bicycle man pass again, the hero starts laughing realizing the potentials of the magical keyboard - it is a powerful moment. We do not know why he was running towards the girl. We do not know why the girl left in some car, before he could reach the station. But we sense there is something romantic between them and this justifies why the guy keeps pushing the undo function, hoping to travel further and further back in the timeline to meet her again and change the past. Even though it is reminiscent of the ending of "La Jetee", the plot twist is strong and seems genuine, because the set-up of intervening timelines is done so subtly many viewers will have to watch two crucial scenes carefully (the bicycle man crashing with someone is a "smoking gun"). For a 15 minutes short, "Undo" pretty much exploited all its potentials.

Grade;+++

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