(WARNING: If you haven’t seen Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, please don’t read below.)
One of the most striking scenes in the beautiful and engaging Gravity, Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone is trapped in a Russian space capsule with no hope of making it back home. While in the capsule, she makes contact with a man speaking in a faded foreign language over the radio system. Although she doesn’t understand the language that he speaks, she hears life back on earth as a baby cries and dogs bark in the background.
What unfolds on the other end of the transmission is the subject of a short film by Jonás Cuarón, who co-wrote the screenplay for Gravity with his father Alfonso Cuarón. The seven-minute short film, titled Aningaaq, puts a face to the voice. We find out that the man that Ryan Stone comes into contact with is an Inuit by the name of Aningaaq who’s routine is momentarily disrupted by the voice of Ryan Stone. Supposedly, the character is based on a man that Alfonso Cuarón encountered himself during a trip in Greenland. The short is very poignant, which you can see for yourself below.
The short was initially financed by Warner Bros. Home Video to be released as a special feature on the inevitable Blu-ray release of Gravity. The masterful short film has found a life of its own on the festival circuit by playing at Telluride and Venice Film Festivals.
The film was even submitted for Oscar contention by the studio but it unfortunately didn’t make the shortlist of potentially nominated films. If it were nominated, Oscar history would’ve been made, as a feature film and a companion short film have never been nominated in the same year before.
Jonás Cuarón conceived the idea for the short film when he and his father were writing Gravity. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cuarón shot the film “guerilla style” in Greenland just in enough time for the audio to be included in the sound mix for Gravity. The short was reportedly budgeted at $100,000, much of which went towards travel costs for the ten-person crew.
“It’s this moment where the audience and the character get this hope that Bullock’s character is finally going to be ok,” Jonás Cuarón said to The Hollywood Reporter. “Then you realize that everything gets lost in translation.”
What do you think?