Despite the blatant product placement, “Parallel Lines” is not just a simple advertisement for Philips Cinema and its televisions.
Like 2009’s “Carousel,” “Parallel Lines” is an inventive cinematic project that takes a simple idea and creates a thought-provoking story.
Released last week in association with RSA Films, “Parallel Lines” is a series of five short films created by five different directors (Greg Fay, Jake Scott, Johnny Hardstaff, Carl Erik Rinsch, and Hi-Sim) that use the same piece of dialogue:
“What is that?”
“It’s a unicorn.”
“Never seen one up close before.”
“Get away, get away.”
Despite sharing the same dialogue, the five shorts – “The Hunt,” “Darkroom,” “The Gift,” “El Secreto de Mateo,” and “Jun and the Hidden Skies” – are surprisingly different films. The shorts not only utilize different genres – thriller, action, science fiction, drama, and animation – but each also re-imagines and repurposes the dialogue.
Although each film references a unicorn, the meaning and connotation of the word “unicorn” is different in each. A unicorn may be beautiful and peaceful in “El Secreto de Mateo,” but it can also be erotic in “Darkroom,” playful in “Jun and the Hidden Skies,” and deadly in “The Hunt” and in “The Gift.” Additionally, although all the films end with “I’m sorry,” each concluding apology holds a different weight and meaning.
By presenting several meanings of a single word or phrase, “Parallel Lines” shows us the metamorphic power of dialogue and its dependency on context and character.
Additionally, the limited dialogue ensures that no spoken word is ever wasted. As a result, dialogue is transformed into a powerful tool that forces the viewer to engage more intensely with the visual elements of each film (such as the lighting and camera angels), and gain a valuable appreciation for other forms of sound (such as laughter, deep breathing, musical scores, the wind, and even silence).
Overall, “The Hunt,” “Darkroom,” “The Gift,” “El Secreto de Mateo,” and “Jun and the Hidden Skies” are each worthy of further praise and critical exploration. Make sure to watch all five shorts at philips.com/cinema.
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Follow Kyla Drewette on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KylaDrewette.