Newfangled tech gives short film audience agency.
Jeron Braxon and Julian Glander take us through four virtual, full-explorable environments in Plant Room thanks to a 360-degree camera. This is a technologically-drenched future that has replaced organic material with Blade Runner-like replicants, but it also feels a bit like dropping into Wreck-It Ralph for a look around.
The autonomy present, allowing us to dictate our gaze as the camera (as us) moves on a rail around the strange, bright pastels of these animated worlds, is more akin to a video game than a short film.
However, this guided tour is an innovative approach to cinema that has far-reaching applications in documentary (think nature-oriented fare) and animation when the goal is just total immersion. When there’s nowhere specifically designed for us to look, it means everywhere must hold the same charm and invitingness. Otherwise, giving us the directorial mantle won’t help. Plant Room is strange and engaging enough to work.