If there’s one place on Earth I would love to visit it’s the area of Pripyat in the Ukraine. Most of you will know it as the place long since abandoned due to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. You will also know it for the iconic imagery that has subsequently been photographed of the ferris wheel and swimming pool. The next step up from visiting would be to make a film there, Spanish writer/director Lluis Quilez (Yanindara (Short), Avatar (Short)) has beaten me to it.
Graffiti tells the story of Edgar, played by Oriol Pla (Truman, Animals) who believes he is the last man alive seven years after ‘the incident’. We assume ‘the incident’ was nuclear as Edgar spends his time wondering around this frozen, post-apocalyptic landscape with something resembling a Geiger counter spray-painting on the wall the level of radiation.
Suddenly however, his life changes when, on coming back to his den, he discovers that someone has spray-painted the word ‘Anna’ onto his wall. What follows is the slowest messenger conversation ever as the pair have a sprayed conversation with each other. This conversation leads Edgar to the biggest decision of his life, and one that could cost him everything.
Lluis Quilez, with the help of screenwriter Javier Gullon (Hierro, La Cueva), have made an intriguing short story but, it’s one that also baffled me. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the whole thing but I had questions like: why hasn’t Edgar moved on in seven years? Surely he’d have tagged the small area he lives in by now? Where’s he getting food and water from? Why doesn’t he fix the hole in his window given it looks bloody freezing outside? Where has the dog come from and why does it look like a puppy? Things like that.
That aside the short is beautifully shot, well directed and acted by Oriol Pla. Having viewed lots of the 2017 Oscar nominee shorts recently, of which Graffiti is one, I’m buoyed by the future of cinema if these people are given the chance. Perhaps the story isn’t quite up to my expectations, perhaps it left me with more questions than answers. Then again, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing at all…