If you haven’t seen Gravity yet and/or don’t want to have a plot element spoiled for you then don’t read any further as it has now been revealed Alfonso Cuaron‘s son and Gravity co-writer, Jonas Cuaron directed a short film companion piece to Gravity titled Aningnaaq, the narrative of which is the ying to Gravity‘s yang.
Toward the end of Gravity, Sandra Bullock‘s character manages to briefly make contact with Earth and instead of reaching Mission Control, she is actually speaking with an ice-fishing Inuit in Greenland by the name of Aningaaq (played by Orto Ignatiussen), listening to a language she doesn’t understand, a dog barking and a baby crying. In Gravity we only see Bullock’s side of the conversation, Jonas’ short film shows the other side.
Film critic Neil Young (who saw the short at the Venice Film Festival where Gravity served as the opening night film) goes into detail about the short film, which apparently played in front of We’re the Millers earlier this year for some inexplicable reason and will not accompany Gravity in theaters, but will instead be saved for the DVD and Blu-ray release.
The short also played at the Telluride film festival in front of John Curran‘s Tracks starring Mia Wasikowska where many presumably saw it, but I’m not sure it entirely “clicked” as to what they were seeing given the lack of news concerning the film.
Here’s the synopsis via the Venice Film Festival:
Aningaaq, an Inuit fisherman camping on the ice over a frozen fjord, talks through a two way radio with a dying astronaut who is stranded in space, 500 kilometers above earth. Even though he doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Greenlandic, they manage to have a conversation about dogs, babies, life and death.
In a piece headlined Satellite of Love: Jonas Cuaron’s Aningaaq, Young writes:
Aningaaq the short fills in the gaps of the strangers’ extended conversation — a precarious affair relying on the most tenuous of technological links — chiefly for the viewer’s benefit. In Gravity, the character Aningaaq is simply a voice crackling over the ether, with a background of howling wind, husky-dogs and occasional baby-cries; but in the film that bears his name we get to see his face, his clothes, his environment, his family (wife and child), his dogs. And we see nothing of Stone. There’s something piquant, amusing and arguably even a little subversive about one of the world’s biggest movie stars — and one of its most recognisable faces — being ‘reduced’ to such an off-screen contribution while the unheralded Ignatiussen, whose sole previous big-screen credit was 13 years ago, takes centre stage.
In addition to its intrinsic pleasures, Aningaaq comments subtly and elegantly on themes which Gravity explores on its much wider, grander canvas. There’s the fundamental question of how mankind interacts with technological developments which may save or imperil our lives — almost the first thing we see here is a decidedly low-tech and old-school fishing-mechanism whose handles appear initially to be turning without any human involvement.
He writes much more and you can read the full article here.
While talking with Sandra Bullock about the short, The Playlist quotes her saying, “[Jonas] went there and shot this absolutely beautiful piece of loneliness and emptiness on Earth where this man is calling from. It’s so beautiful, and I get goosebumps thinking about it.”
Aningaaq runs seven minutes long and while you can’t watch it online and it apparently won’t play alongside Gravity, not even after the credits, you can at least listen to Steven Price‘s track from the Gravity score titled “Aningnaaq” that plays during the scene directly below.
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