HOLLYSHORTS 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! The definition of a soulmate is “a person with whom one has a strong affinity, shared values and tastes, and often a romantic bond.” Alberto Belli’s unabashedly idyllic short After Life Vacation refuses to adhere to such simplified interpretations. Ambitiously splitting the film into two halves – the first effervescently vivid, the second starkly black and white – the filmmaker conveys a genuine belief that when two people are meant to be together, they simply know it, and no amount of external influence (however celestial) can change that.
Set in the near future, the movie follows Claudia (Valeria Gonzalez) and Daniel (Jano Sanvicente), who believe they are soulmates. They visit Montse (Elena Sanz), an expert in “After Life” experiences, which are presented in packages of varying lengths and prices. Possibilities are limitless: swimming with hungry sharks, jumping headfirst into Niagara Falls, or surfing inside a hurricane are just a few of the options.
“…do they resolve to be each other’s soulmates, or let fate decide who they spend eternity with?”
“Do I put you with your soulmate or your husband?” Montse asks Claudia, catching her off-guard. Apparently, the two are not at all the same. Now Daniel and Claudia have a decision to make: do they resolve to be each other’s soulmates, or let fate decide who they spend eternity with? Will a flip of a coin be the decisive factor?
Belli and writer Maria Brasero have tongue-in-cheek fun with the concept – a la the Amazon series, Upload – gently questioning our commitment to our chosen loved ones and whether we would balk when faced with a century of wandering the stars with that one person. The duo never delves too deeply into the technical details, nor the scientific/religious implications of said “process” – which is fine, as that could have potentially bogged their sweet and uplifting film down in unnecessary meta/scientific rumination.
As it stands, After Life Vacation is so breezy, it threatens to evaporate from memory as swiftly as a pleasant but short vacation. Luckily, Belli’s heartfelt sentiments are so infectious, it hardly matters.
After Life Vacation screened at the 2020 Hollyshorts Film Festival.
"…so breezy, it threatens to evaporate from memory as swiftly as a pleasant but short vacation."