Fans of post-apocalyptic devastation can rejoice with the release of Lluís Quílez's short film Graffiti, in a dazzling dialogue-barren 30 minutes of gripping revelations and expressions of true loneliness.
The 2007 post-apocalyptic effort I am Legend sends its cinematic arc into its third act after hero Robert Neville is forced to strangle his dog to death after she gets infected by a ‘Darkseekers’ lethal virus. Lluís Quílez’s short film Graffiti opens somewhat similarly, with hero Edgar ‘beating the dog’ to an old billboard advertisement of a pair of woman’s legs.
Alright, so the link is tenuous, but the similarity of the two films’ tones are not; even the whole the dog-as-companion-to-extenuate-loneliness bit runs throughout both. From the very start of the film’s 30-minute run-time, we are plunged into something very reminiscent of Francis Lawrence’s take on the apocalypse, with just enough disparity to qualify as something unique on its own accord.
Graffiti, a title referring to Edgar’s endless days spent tagging walls, follows our near-speechless hero as he roams the city demolished by an unnamed and unelaborated “incident” with his dog. He merely exists day-to-day, spitting spray paint on walls, the sole survivor, until he finds a wall tagged with the word “Anna.” And so begins the surge of a relationship existing only etymologically, prospering as they leave each other messages on the same wall every day, giving Edgar a little hope from the desolation around him.
But when Edgar suggests meeting up, a line is crossed and he must face the decision of what is ultimately worth living for. It’s all very deep and thematic, if not a little unbelievable in its climax. But praise must be dually given to Oriol Pla who plays Edgar, for a stunning performance which uses only one verbal line consisting of just one word. Without at least a handful of verbal lines to help reflect character, Pla does impressively well to recognise and reveal the inner machinations of Edgar’s lonely mind. Similar credit also goes to the direction, superbly shot with little guidance from a dialogue heavy script.
And with a brilliant ending leaving the viewer hanging, Graffiti is thickly laced with the potential for an impressive independent feature-length. Move aside I Am Legend, we’ve got the next smash-hit post-apocalyptic drama right over here.
Grafitti, directed by Lluis Quilez won best Short Film at Santa Barbara Film Festival.