Tiger Take-Off




“World of Tomorrow”

Dir. by Don Herdzfeld. Bitter Film Production, 2015. 17 mins. (http://www.bitterfilms.com/)

Film Review by Jason Lyle Garrett

“It was here, on the moon, that I fell in love with a rock,” says the time-traveling grandmother, or rather granddaughter (in clone terms that is) of little Emily, the child protagonist of “World of Tomorrow”, a film about, well, hmm, that’s a tough one now isn’t it.  “World of Tomorrow” is many things:  a short film, an animated film, a science fiction film, possibly even an experimental stick figure film, but since all the best movies tend to be just about one thing, “World of Tomorrow” is about our future collective nostalgia for who we currently fear we are becoming.


Okay, let’s back up.  Why would a third generation clone, from 227 years in the future, express her fond memories of loving a rock?  Because in the future, that rock was the closest thing she had found to real life, for that moment at least.  She later grew to love a fuel pump, an incoherent alien, and an older, much-deteriorated clone, which she later married and then harvested, after his sudden death, her most favorite memory of his:  him descending a staircase.

If it hasn’t become clear by now, this film is covered in melancholia, and it genuinely and very creatively attempts to steer our current human trajectory away from where we are obviously headed.  Consider the line spoken by Emily Prime’s third generation clone, “Our more recent history is often just comprised of images of other people watching view screens.”  And what does Clone Emily want of Emily Prime?  To harvest a cherished memory of Emily Prime that she hopes will bring her future cloned-self great comfort:  a simple walk with her mother.

“World of Tomorrow’s” message is clear and timely, but its form is so abstractly beautiful that it would be worth its seventeen-minute running time even without the engaging story.  These two characters are simple stick figures voiced by Julia Pott and Winona Mae and the contrast between Emily 3G’s robotic monotone and Emily Prime’s playful spontaneity is so high, one can’t help but fear our current technology is sucking the life right out of us.  Form and content blend so well here, the two are inseparable and complement each other to a precision most filmmakers spend lifetimes hoping to accomplish.

The film’s art style not only honors Hertzfeld’s explorations of human existence, but also very fittingly illustrates one of the film’s settings, the Outernet, a more advanced version of the Internet, only this time it’s a neural network in which Emily Prime can change the color of the Outernet at the mere mention of the word, and Emily 3G can walk toward a distant memory as though it were the mere flip of a page.

After our heartfelt and comedic journey of following stick figures through abstract memories, the film leaves us with this haunting proclamation, and so this review will end as well:

Do not lose time on daily trivialities.  Do not dwell on petty detail.  For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time.  Live well and live broadly.  You are alive and living now.  Now is the envy of all of the dead.

“World of Tomorrow” is currently streaming on Netflix or it can be rented on Vimeo or YouTube.  And, since it is only seventeen minutes long, you will spend very little time actually staring at a screen; you can then spend the remainder of your movie watching time going on a walk with a loved one.

Works Cited

“World of Tomorrow”.  Dir. Don Hertzfeld.  Perf. Julia Pott, Winona Mae.  Bitter Films, 2015. <http://www.bitterfilms.com>.

Jason Garrett is associate professor of Mass Communication, Campbellsville University. He holds a doctorate from Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has won several awards, including a Silver Telly and a Gold Remi Award, for short films. He has also worked on documentaries and promotional videos for missionaries in Poland, Bulgaria, and Lithuania for Hope Communications.