- Directed by Hodei Zambrano -
Have you ever tasted a meal or beverage so good, so exquisite that you closed your eyes and felt your senses blend, for one long second, into a perfect state of ecstasy? Whether or not you delighted your taste buds in such a manner, ‘Next’ revels in such an experience. The short film could be described in many ways, one such manner being ‘gastronomical romance’.
A woman is sitting by herself at a table, surrounded by various hanging lightbulbs of different shapes and sizes, and candle pedestals- a rather surrealist setting. This is largely because the place where the dining experience occurs is the only one that matters- anything else beyond it is highly irrelevant and thus obscured by a grey nothingness.
The various meals she experiences, from a wine tasting to aperitifs and finally the main course, induce an almost trance-like orgasmic sensation to her- these sequences transport us to even more surrealist settings, where the woman’s taste buds have their encounter with the ingredients which make up the food and drink: juicy grapes pouring over her naked body, the soft palette of the concoction which shatters to the ground, only to hit home again with the aftertaste. An appetizer so good that it makes the lights flicker and provokes a mini-earthquake, followed by a taste so spicy that it makes the girl cry tears of blood- enjoying every moment of it.
The film unfolds with refinement and finesse. The cinematography is extraordinarily beautiful: the frames of the woman sitting at the table, shot from behind the multitude of hanging lights, alternate with close-ups of the food, its ingredients and her facial expressions generated by her tasting of these. She offers a very good performance, as do the supporting actors, who have to ‘set the scene’ between courses, as they would do at an opera or theatrical performance. The editing techniques employed here are equally fantastic and blend in perfectly with the soundtrack: quiet stills set in a tension of expectancy, slowly succeeding images mix with a calm soundtrack signalling the beginning of the encounter with the next meal, and then everything escalates into a crescendo of noise and emotion when the taste comes in.
‘Next’ is a beautifully shot and wonderfully set short film that explores a deep experience of a culinary theme, which is so common in day to day life, and yet so rarely engaged by filmmaking. This short is without doubt a huge success.