Underground Film Journal

Posted In » Online Cinema

Short Film: Yellow Plastic Raygun

By Mike Everleth ⋅ August 5, 2010

Travel back to a time when cars had fins, men wore hats, ladies wore pearls and the future was now. Actually, only using minimal sci-fi imagery, Alessandro Cima has created a cool retro futuristic blend of classic cinema and modern images for his funky short film Yellow Plastic Raygun, embedded above.

Although there’s no clear plot through the use of found images — for example, the way Craig Baldwin might use similar material — there’s still a sense of story to Cima’s film as the classy and classic images eventually give way to more chaotic material. It’s as if the future previously promised by the media all turned to disaster. The clean, livable cities collapse into rubble and the natural world is destroyed in the name of progress.

Maybe the future is out of our reach only because we’ve willed it to be. Once we dreamed of rayguns and romantic robotic men and visiting other worlds. Movies and TV could fantasize about escaping a dull existence, but since other planets couldn’t be visited, the automobile provided a real, everyday escape, to have the individual freedom to drive to any destination. But, eventually, the need to maintain an automobile-friendly world consumed all other dreams and aspirations.

By ending on several panoramic shots of the World Trade Center, it’s as if Cima is alluding to the tragedy of 9/11 as the final, pivotal point at which the future ended. The future, like those buildings, only exists as memory, which is a nice way of getting at that conclusion without having to see the tragic events of that day literally unfold all over again. We can remember those buildings as they were — proud, tall and majestic — and not what they were to become.

Therefore, by ending on the towers in this fashion, Yellow Plastic Raygun has an optimistic ending. The future can be built all over again, if we just dream it back into existence.

For more on Alessandro Cima, check out more videos on his Vimeo page or his two websites Camouflage Lenses and Candlelight Stories.