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2088 short film review


Directed by: Toni V. Genov

Written by: Toni V. Genov

A cursor hovers over the delete button on a computer screen, threatening to delete a folder marked "Projects".

With no actors, no cinematography, and only minimal direction, this short film represents the extreme end of the lo-fi, DIY spectrum. The script is told entirely through a text exchange between two physicists, who are discussing the strange disappearance of a colleague. The dialogue hooks in, which is especially vital with all other filmmaking tools stripped away. On the whole it holds up, though an early instance of faulty syntax makes for a bumpy start. Bulgarian director Toni V. Genov is not a native English-speaker, but considering this short film looks to have been a one-man show, one can cut him a little bit of slack for the language misstep.

What 2088 does demonstrate is that storytelling has no minimum budget—its drama is about as lo-fi as it gets. And it builds suspense, ratcheting up to a reveal in mere minutes. Just what was the disappeared physicist working on? Conversely, suspense needs a pay-off, and 2088 is only suspenseful until its reveal hits the dirt. You know those YouTube videos where someone puts out their hand, a cup is knocked over, and they claim they’re displaying telekinesis? Well, here those videos are used in a serious manner to portray that the missing physicist has discovered telekinetic powers, and the outcome is unintentionally comical. Just as the text exchange shows that lo-fi can deliver story, this effects failure shows that it has its limitations too.

That dismal moment is partially ameliorated when Genov shows some imagination in the finale. Unknown onlookers, presumably the same “unknown” that kidnapped the physicist, ring the doorbell of the texter on our screen. The interlocutor sends increasingly frantic messages when our guy goes quiet. We know the reason he’s gone quiet, but it presents a problem for Genov—how to portray a physical struggle when you can only show a computer screen. The director comes up with a neat solution to it. He conveys the struggle simply by having a mouse wiggle around the screen. The audience can fill in the rest with the context provided.

As a piece, 2088 is dinky, if not in any way filmic. As Toni V. Genov’s first short film, it pays to remember that everyone has to start somewhere.



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