If you turn on the news or spend any time on social media, the raw emotion is hard to escape. Trapped and difficult to stay above the fray, many of us struggle to filter out the passion, while the ability to let rationality guide our beliefs has been greatly hindered. So the way things are going, we could use a good dose of cold hard facts and strict scientific interpretation. Anything has to be better than the current abyss of vitriol and divisiveness. Not so fast, an 18 minute Sci-Fi short called The Prime, written and starring James Pravasilis and directed by Jessica Alexandra Green, shows us that even the right, reasoned answers can be wrong.
Thus, The Prime has it all figdured out. “Live in perpetual balance with nature, unite humanity with a living new system of nondogmatic beliefs. Rule emotions, consciousness, tradition and all things with tempered reason. Balance personal rights with social duties, be not a cancer on the earth and be with what is natural.”
The computer generated voiceover adds both a sense of authority and broad assurance. Throw in the elimination of irrational religious persuasion and an ideology based on fairness – where do we sign up?
Apparently, this society has done so and they have accepted that achieving perpetual balance does require some sacrifice.
A lot more than “some,” but our introduction showcases a world that seems in harmony. The streets are far less crowded, the people move about at a slower pace and the Toru Nishikubo cinematography conveys a sedate orderliness.
So life looks good but the overcast skies imply that stagnation might have taken hold. Either way, Jeffery sticks out with his haggard look and discombobulated lurch. Still, he has an insight that the masses seem to miss. “The human condition is tamed and stifled into a predictable, lead-able society,” he diligently scribbles away.
In other words, he seeks a science that includes feeling, love and spiritualism. So the voiceover and wooded seclusion of Jeffery’s ruminations reveal a lonely ideology of one. Down one from the loss of his wife Laura (Dana Marisa Schoenfeld), Laura appears as an apparition in representation of everything missing in his life and the world as it stands.
An angelic face with eyes that look like they hold all the answers, Schoenfeld’s tender disposition offers hope and a way forward. Even so, the journey is not straight forward, and Pravasilis embodies the angst and weight of this world which can be seen in his every move and grimace.
Jeffery also doesn’t like the implanted chip that is supposed to fend off the virus that plagues humanity. “I have no symptoms, I don’t want it inside of me,” he pleads to a true believer.
Doubling as a tracker, the device could explain why people are so compliant and has Jeffery so reluctant. Removing his chip, Jeffery must obviously run afoul of the formulaic authority that has carefully outlined the only rational course for the species.
With little restraint, the thick necked and small headed security forces haul him off to a holding center that mirrors the whole idea of The Prime. Bare, colorless, and very low on the light, only the necessities are needed to get the job done. 1984 would be very proud.
Thus, The Prime needs to get Jeffery with the program, and the dissident is sent right to the top for his re-education. The Director (Kaye Tuckerman) means business, and Tuckerman is pretty daunting in all her cold calculating power.
Jeffery isn’t so helpless as Winston Smith, though, and his temperament makes a pretty good match for the wrath that Tuckerman exudes. The two competing wills making their play and brought to a fever pitch by the Leeran Raphaely score, the outcome doesn’t exactly go by the numbers and gets this story right.