The Nostalgist

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Availability = US

Runtime = 17 minutes

A father and son live in an idyllic future, but reality is not quite what it seems. A science-fiction short film based on a story by NY Times best-selling author Daniel H. Wilson starring Lambert Wilson and Samuel Joslin and directed by London-based director Giacomo Cimini. In the futuristic city of Vanille, with properly tuned ImmerSyst Eyes & Ears the world can look and sound like a paradise. But the life of a father and his young son threatens to disintegrate when the father’s device begins to fail. Desperate to avoid facing his own traumatic reality, the man must venture outside to find a replacement, into a city where violence and danger lurk beneath a skim of beautiful illusion. Written and Directed by GIACOMO CIMINI Based on the short story by DANIEL H. WILSON Produced by GIACOMO CIMINI, TOMMASO COLOGNESE, PIETRO GREPPI Co-Produced By GIACOMO BARGELLESI, LUCA DA RIOS

 

DIRECTOR STATEMENT

Are we doomed to remember forever? Happiness, unhappiness, success, failure, mistakes and regrets. The life of every human being is a collection of memories. Can we trick ourselves by pretending something never happened? Can we relieve ourselves of the weight of the past through our sense of nostalgia? These for me are the two main questions raised by Daniel H Wilson’s extraordinary short story, The Nostalgist. These are the questions that drove me in adapting the story as a short film. Daniel introduced me to The Nostalgist after watching my previous sci-fi short film, City in the Sky. He sensed there was a sort of connection between the two stories. We were both trying to prompt questions about the human tragedy, and the two narrative universes were indeed very similar. Once I read it, I immediately thought The Nostalgist needed to be translated for the screen, with even greater attention to detail and more “concreteness” than in my previous short. Part of the crew from City in the Sky joined forces with a new team of passionate VFX artists, comic book artists, conceptual artists and designers. The future that I envision is inspired by the works of great artists who influenced my generation, such as Syd Mead, Moebius, Ralph McQuarrie, Hayao Miyazaki and Katsuhiro Otomo among many others, but re-imagined and mixed with a distinctive sense of reality thanks to the latest VFX achievable even on small budget. We have been immensely lucky to cast Lambert Wilson who gave the character of the Nostalgist a subtle and complex intensity. The same goes for the young, smart and talented Samuel Joslin, who gave a moving performance made of intense stares and silences. What my team and I created is a brief glimpse into a possible future that has lost almost any resemblance to our own, but where human beings continue to ask themselves the same existential questions they always have. Why does the old man in the story long for the past? Whenever the present is not as we expected it to be and the future is more frightening than we thought, what we tend to do is to try and go back in time: anchor ourselves to our memories and attempt to relive the past, which appears to us as perfect only because it is filtered through our own emotions. In this short film, I decided to depict “reality” as a nostalgic collection of memories of a bygone era; a past made of different pasts, which for me has its origin in the same time and world ideally imagined by the pioneer of science fiction, Jules Verne: a dawn of optimistic progress and happiness which at its peak found the horror of the two world wars. Technology wasn’t there just to make life better; it could also destroy everything. And so can the boy-robot at the centre of the story: a device assembled out of pieces and parts from previous killing machines, at the same time able to love and destroy, and therefore incredibly human. With one striking exception: robots can reset themselves.

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