REVIEW: god’s zoo gone punk (Ebbëto – Analog)

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God twitches. Facial muscles and hand-eye coordination goes out the window. The first woman really was created from the first man. Behavioural conditioning probably inspired by Aphex Twin, a grin never completely primordial, nor balancing on the edge of cocaine-induced grit teeth mania. Sleeping. Perchance to dream. God might have been an intergalactic surgeon with faulty implants. If his hands went faulty, what of his brain? Welcome to Ebbëto‘s Analog, an arthouse experimental sci-fi short coming from Brazil. Verdict? 10/10.

ANALOG tells the tale of a machine traveling in deep-space which has as a primary function the preservation of a living organism: a man. Strange events with biblical analogies begin to occur, disturbing the machine and making it rethink it’s priorities.

Do not be fooled by the two-sentence description of one of the greatest sci-fi surprises coming from Brazil. Analog does include a creature that is more like a cyborg than just a machine (it’s capable of crying), there is a sense of deep space (often intervowen with phases of dreaming or visions) and there is also a man (spending most of its time in a catatonic state in a life-supporting tank) – but the 27-minute short gives itself slow and hard and ends up way more complex than it looks.

And that’s mostly because of its abstraction. Monochrome, minimalist, claustrophobic settings (much like Japanese cyberpunk flics Rubber’s Lover, Tetsuo or S-94 where even outdoors feel claustrophobic). Soundtrack and sound effects purely rooted in and made out of noise (love the way laughters are distorted into the wall of noise!). Slow dramaturgy, never thawing out of the deep space temperatures it resides in. Bergmanesque slow takes. A cavalcade of symbols rich in Biblical references. You will soon realize how deep space travel fluctuates between phases of sleeping/dreaming and taking a brief look at the experimental man in the life-support tank but you can quickly acquire a cinematographically auspicious doubt and easily loose track of when the traveler/surgeon/God is awake and when he’s seeing taunting visions/nightmares.

Take Jeunet & Caro’s “The Bunker of the Last Gunshots“, add Charlie Deaux’s “Zoetrope” with its sombre aftertaste of Lustmordesque dark ambient, pepper it with trademark glitch bleeps of Ryoji Ikeda, slosh it with meta-absinthe and serve it on a bed of divine biopunk – and watch Genesis skillfully castrate itself.

I simply cannot love Analog enough. Not the kind of short you instantly rewatch because you love it so much – its impact will leave you with some inner silence and lots of question marks. The internets leave us with the notion that this short was done on an ultra-small budget and if that’s true, I feel definitely humbled. Camera work, sound work, editing, characters and the number of possible graph paths to interpret the motifs of the man/machine leave me satisfied. If this is Brazil, I want more of this. (Wait, there actually IS more – you can watch Ebbëto’s first movie Lagartija Nika on Vimeo!)

A heartfelt “thank you” goes to director Ebbëto for not just creating Analog but also sending me the link to the full short movie on Vimeo and the Quietearth guys for originally posting about the trailer!

– An Ebbëto Grafx production in association with RCS Design
– A film by EBBËTO “ANALOG”
– 3D technic/concept design – 3D animation – co-producer – 1st assistant director RENATO SBARDELOTTO
– Original soundtrack – sound design – audio editor RENATO JAW and RODRIGO BARALDO – SEMENTE CÓSMICA
– Executive producer ELIM DUTRA
– Costume Design: Cintia Mafei
– Support : Nelson Glezer e Silvio Nachim from Construtora Atlântica
– Screenplay – Photography – 2D animation – Editor and Directed by EBBËTO

Writer, journalist, creative. Had book on future scenarios and a New York Times-acclaimed script on the big screen. Insatiable love for weird stuff, Asian cuisine, pop/altcult, coffee, eyecandy, anything with a Scoville rate or a frequency. Makes music, too.