One of the most important roles of art, in general, is to witness its contemporaneity. Likewise, quality cinema doesn’t always resort to more or less distant subjects in the past, or to more or less fictionalized subjects, being also a barometer of its own present. From this perspective, the short film ‘Distance‘ is a necessary project, since it is inspired by our immediate reality, depicting, in a style halfway docudrama and disaster film, the premises of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without „worrying” about the global effect this virus implies, director Jesse Edwards orchestrates a rather intimate, local drama, mirroring the planetary context in a social microcosm. Thus, it is difficult to talk about a classic formula specific to American (more or less successful) disaster films – we do not necessarily have a protagonist and there is no central drama, since all the characters in this short film share to a certain extent the same destiny. But this enhances the emotional aim the director intends, as the current sensitive context we all face is not about (super)heroes or villains we have to fight against. In fact, as the short film itself suggests, in this present we can all be saviours, but only by preserving our humanism that prevents us from being defeated by anxiety.

 

This attempt, which tests our mental rather than physical dimension, is experienced by the characters of this project who, despite general hysteria, realize that the only way to truly fight the pandemic is, beyond conventional preventive methods, to fuel a sort of „close distance” with others. From this perspective, human closeness becomes the only palliation in a world haunted by gloomy scenarios, statistics and premonitions. This is, in fact, the main message of this rather optimistic project, even if Jesse Edwards risks pushing the cinematic construct towards a slightly over-sentimental area.

 

However, the cohesion of the technical elements supported by both the quality of a dynamic and well-balanced image and an efficient editing proves a remarkable directorial talent that has all the chances to turn this short film into an impactful feature. Whatever its fate, ‘Distance’ is, in its current form, through its theme and not only, a commendable project that manages to bring a ray of sunshine into a present that risks sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness of its own fears.

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