Second screening tonight at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival in Toronto for Adelmo Togliani‘s short film, Neo Kósmo. After the award as Best Short Film at the Castelli Romani Film Festival, at the Dello Film Festival (where it was also awarded for Best Screenplay), and at the Coliseum International Film Festival; after the Special Mentions at the Visioni Corte, at the Indiecinema Film Festival and at the Social Short Movie; but also the audience award at the Planos Film Festival; the awards as Best Actress for Giorgia Surina at the Terni Film Festival, at the Artelesia International Film Festival and at the AmiCorti Festival (where Stefano Tramacere also received the award for Best Photography) and the award for Best Director for Adelmo Togliani at the Terra di Siena Film Festival; Néo Kòsmo is ready to amaze, but also to make the Canadian audience reflect in the short session of the ICFF.
Near future: people no longer communicate, except within a virtual reality called Néo Kósmo. This parallel world can only be accessed by connecting through virtual reality helmets. In a bourgeois family of a father, mother, and two teenage children, there is a whole process of dissociation from reality. Parents and children spend entire days in the New World, where they work, study, and meet. At home, the absolute silence reigns. Alésia (Giorgia Surina), the android nanny of the family, realizing that the process of social drift is irreversible, is intent on protecting the family’s youngest child, who has not yet begun to the new dimension.
Néo Kòsmo was born observing the reality that surrounds us every day. “It was the evening of Valentine’s Day, 2018. I watched the couples around me, they were almost all staring at the screen of my phone, completely in self-isolation”, tells the director, Adelmo Togliani, “a short time later, I was having dinner with old friends, we hadn’t seen each other for many years. After the first greetings and the first pleasantries, they all started to use their phones; so I thought about what kind of future awaits us. I imagine a future where we should not leave the house anymore because we will just touch on the screen the jacket rather than the glasses worn by the character of the movie that we are watching on one of the many platforms to put it in the cart and receive it directly at home”. I listen to his words and I remember an old story about a Mickey Mouse comic from the early ’90s. It was set in 2020, and everyone lived indoors; they did physical activity in the living room on electric exercise bikes and bought food and all kinds of goods from a big screen, while robots performed any kind of activity that required a minimum of movement. 2020, although for other reasons that we know well, was not so different from that dystopian vision of the comic; the problem is that we are dangerously approaching it. Without smartphones we get bored: children no longer go into the courtyard to play football while adults cannot entertain a conversation at a restaurant table that can last the duration of dinner. We no longer know how to enjoy reality; we spend the most beautiful moments immortalizing them with mobile phones and we do not live them: we do not live a concert because we are busy doing live shows, we do not live an encounter with our idol because we are busy taking selfies, we do not live a sporting event because we are busy writing about it on social,…while Chris (Giorgio Consoli) can not enjoy the sound of the unspoiled nature that surrounds him, the breath of the wind in the trees because immersed in the Nèo Kòsmo; it is the android nanny Alésia to enjoy it instead, until the day when…
In a world made up of people who no longer communicate even when they are in the same room; who live a parallel life wearing a VR helmet, not only when they are working, but also while they are all at the table together; it is the task of a robot that sings a lullaby to remind us of what the maternal sense and human empathy are, a witness of a universe that now has nothing to do with humanity made of flesh, blood, and bones.
Scientist Frank Fenner said: “The human being as we know it is destined for extinction” In the scenario proposed by Nèo Kòsmo, human beings and machines are now at a crossroads and, that crossroads is dangerously closer and closer day by day.