Written & Directed By: #VasilisKekatos
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Somewhere, some distance outside of Athens, two strangers cross paths at an old gas station. One of the gentlemen is simply looking to refuel his motorcycle and be on his way, the other however, is stranded and is looking to procure the €22.50 that he needs to get a bus back to the Greek capital. After engaging the biker just as he is about to leave, he begins a series of unique and interesting propositions which escalate fantastically as the two begin to negotiate, at first for the money, but eventually for something much more.
Winner of the Short Film Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival (writer/director Vasilis Kekatos also became the first Greek filmmaker to win an award in this category) as well as many other prestigious accolades, The Distance Between Us and the Sky is a shining example of simple yet elegant filmmaking. One of if not the most striking things about this #shortfilm is its duality. It's a constant moving target from beginning to end, playing between the lines of an erotically charged meet cute and dangerously tense confrontation. It never really commits to either, which is a small shame as the culmination of the piece might feel a little underwhelming for some, but it’s this sense of perpetual ambiguity that manages to keep our attentions firmly for the duration.
This double-sided nature echoes through the performances of each of our actors as well, which doesn’t just accentuate the films exciting sense of uncertainty, but also showcases the wonderful talent on display. A two-hander in its barest form, Kekatos opts to frame the exchange between our two strangers so intimately that there is nothing to take away from the raw chemistry and sexual tension mixed with a strong element of fear that practically oozes from the screen from our two leads.
Their negotiations, starting as some strange power struggle with both taking turns to push each other onto the back foot, soon become this entrancing dance of increasing intimacy where it suddenly appears evident that at some point this stopped being about the money. Zeginoglou perhaps walks in the dominant shoes more than his counterpart Kotidis, but both are equally comfortable in them. However, the two performances seem most in harmony when Zeginoglou, who is always enigmatic as much as he is charismatic, is the one being effortlessly beguiling and has Kotidis eating from the palm of his hand.
The Distance Between Us and The Sky showcases a filmmaker with a razor-sharp eye for visuals and storytelling in what is a somewhat personal experience for Kekatos, not to mention two performances that really bring this beautiful metaphor to life. While some may somewhat lament its unresolved ambiguity, it’s open-endedness is also the very essence of what makes this great short so captivating.
The Distance Between Us and the Sky is now streaming on YouTube as part of the We Are One online film festival.
Watch the trailer here: