Next Floor (2008)

“Next Floor” is a strange, very offbeat short film featuring a set of classy diners gorging themselves on a meal while attended by service staff, until the ground gives out beneath them, and they all fall to the “next floor”, where they begin the process of gorging themselves on a meal again.

The message about greed, humanity’s pull to indulge itself even against greater concerns of survival and prosperity, comes accross clearly. The short runs around twelve minutes, so doesn’t really get the opportunity to overstay its welcome or anything, but there’s no development beyond the first minute or so, just repetition.

Everything is so well-designed and well-executed that such repetition doesn’t really get grating though. The sound effects are awful in the best way, the moody visual aesthetic accentuates the darkness of the idea propelling the short, and the set design is just fantastic.

The repetition does leave time for the viewer to muse whether the message extends beyond the obvious “greed is bad and all-consuming” style message. Is falling down the floors allegorical for the passing-the-buck, trickle-down style of capitalistic economics pushed in much of the world today? Or perhaps its more of an environmentalist message – the diners consume and consume needlessly, and special attention is paid to the served rhinoceros, an endangered species, perhaps emblematic of humanity’s destruction of vulnerable environments and the life therein.

It’s more one-note than Villeneuve’s other notable short, “REW-FFWD”, but also stranger and to my mind, more compelling. I give it three sausages, and a chicken leg.

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