Short Film: Six Apartments
Life is in decay in Reynold Reynolds‘ beautifully shot short film Six Apartments. Six strangers, unaware of each other’s existence, live their lives in isolation, passing their time on Earth listening to the radio, watching TV, scrubbing their feet, feeding their pet snake, etc. All the while they do not notice that their world is slowly decomposing all around them. Depending on your stomach for that kind of thing, some of the decay can be quite grotesque. But, the stunning camera moves and shot compositions are completely wonderful to behold.
This is a split-screen film with the action in the apartments split up between both sides. However, with the in-tandem camera moves on each side of the screen, Reynolds directs your eye to which is the more important action to be focused on. Plus, the split-screen is a good relief when one side offers up images that are tough to digest: Decomposing rodents, food rotting in open refrigerators or out on plates.
The film also commands the audience to make connections between the two sides on two different levels, both an emotional one and on a purely visual one. For example, there’s the very orderly, tidy woman who deliberately nibbles a piece of bread while, in another apartment, a man searches through his thoroughly disorganized stacks of junk looking for something willy-nilly. But, then there’s the other scene where the jiggling corpse of a decomposing rat has a mirrored image in the sick girl’s sparkly, shimmering wall hanging.
Having to focus on two sides of the screen, one can get distracted from listening to what’s on the soundtrack, which cuts between different radio stations discussing end-of-the-world scenarios, such as global warming. One gets the impression that the people in the apartments are actually listening to these stations — as opposed to being superimposed by the filmmaker — but it’s all just background noise. They are barely listening to it and not at all reacting.
The world is dying all around them and nobody can barely notice. Which is pretty right on for life in the modern world.
If you like Six Apartments, you can watch more films by Reynold Reynolds on Vimeo.