Sight, the graduation project by Eran May-Raw and Daniel Lazo, gives us a view of the near-future where eye-implants enable the population to have augmented reality displays over their field of vision, giving access to paying bills, turning everyday activities into games and applying apps to real life. The plot revolves around a blind date between our protagonist and a woman, with the camera flicking between third and first person.
One of my problems with video game flourishes, like the cooking game, is that they feel too much like wish-fulfillment for the makers of the film and too far removed from the realms of real-life. Taking current trends in video games and technology, extrapolating from that an entire narrative is only ever going to produce something that jars with the audience’s suspension of disbelief. For me to buy into the maker’s world, I have to believe that people would do what their characters are doing, and as it happens, I don’t believe that anyone sober or with full mental capacity would gleefully flounder on their living room floor like a freshly caught salmon in order to play a video game.
There are, however, some interesting points raised in the film though, for example, how we’re becoming increasingly reliant upon information gleaned from social profiles that are a representation of how people want to be seen, rather than an objective representation of how we are. So on the one hand, we have nods to the issues of social media and the power of information, and then the next breath we’re dragged back into mindless talk of videogame-like achievements – ‘ALL LEVELS COMPLETE’ the interface gleefully informs us. Now goals make sense for linear narratives in order to induce encouragement – get to that hill and you’ve got yourself 10 shiny points – but the problem with stretching this to real life is that I’ve only ever met three people who genuinely cared for and nurtured their video game points. As you can imagine, they were insufferable bores.
Another point to pick up on is that for some reason filmmakers persist in this ‘Apple’ version of the future where we all forego personal style and live in sterile environments that look like they’ve come straight out of an Ikea catalogue for modular furniture. In both locations in the film – the protagonist’s house and the restaurant – the predominant interior design is monochrome and buffed metal everywhere. Are we still in the 60s? Did Blade Runner not happen? Why are we still obsessed with thinking that humans in the future aren’t going to be as varied in their tastes as they are now?
Set issues aside, the moral quandary over the use of such technology is played out brilliantly through to the unsettling end. The acting is about as wooden as the laminate flooring in the set, but quibbles aside, representations of the future are always hard to pull off and Sight does an admirable job. In order to present the future in a way that works, the production has to have a cognisance of the present and the knowledge that it’s not the people that change, it is just the evolving context of technology and social forces. The key is setting a human story in a different milieu, exploring the differences and commenting on the current situation through contrast. When Sight probes the use of current technology you get glimpses of what could have been a brilliant Short film had it not been for those less convincing elements of the story.