Third Kind Is a Unique Kind of Sci-Fi FilmDirector Yorgos Zois helps us to interpret others’ real-life experiences through the sci-fi genre
This week I’ve got another Sci-Fi Saturday short for you. Although not much is currently going on in the big world of sci-fi (though there is always something going on), there never seems to be a dull drum when it comes to short films.
Although not a brand new release, Third Kind (2018, 32 min) by Yorgos Zois is interesting, unique, and thought-provoking in several ways.
First, let’s talk about interesting. While I would gladly say that most short films I watch are interesting, the slow burn of Third Kind makes it more interesting than most. As three archeologists visit a long since abandoned earth (we’re not really told what time the archeologists are from), they search for a mysterious signal that had been originating from somewhere on the planet. The rest of the film follows the archeologists through an abandoned airport as they observe and record the echoing remains of the lives once lived there.
The film itself is available free at Vimeo here. Here’s the trailer at YouTube:
The actions and demeanor of the archeologists seem odd. They’re almost robot-like in their movements and observations of events. I’m not always in the mood for a slow burn but this was one I definitely enjoyed being a part of. I would recommend watching this when you’re done with your day, ready to unwind, relax, and sink into lethargy.
Second, Third Kind is unique. While the obvious inspiration is Steven Spielberg’s classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it’s not a knock-off; the tone is quite different. What makes Third Kind truly unique, however, is that the humans are both the extraterrestrials and the contactees. This juxtaposition of us and us causes me to pause and think about Arthur C. Clarke’s famous (often altered) dictum, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Perhaps we are being asked to imagine what it would be like to meet ourselves in the distant future. Will we be the ones that seem not-of-this-world?
Third, Third Kind is thought-provoking. As noted just before the credit roll, the entire film was shot at an old, abandoned airport in Greece, which served as a refugee camp during the refugee crisis only a few short years ago. What I believe the authors of the film wanted to do, more than anything, was give us a glimpse into the living conditions of these camps.
Thus, the sci-fi theme portrays archeologists exploring the remains of a war-torn and climate-ravaged Earth, abandoned long ago. We learn, to our surprise, however, that the set was not intricately put together by a genius set designer; it was the reality that many of our contemporaries have lived while waiting for their freedom. For some, the experience may be cathartic. For others, it may be introspective.
Lastly, while the ending didn’t leave me in awe or reverie by any means, the location and real-world subtext were a cause for reflection. Third Kind does not seem to have been intended primarily as a sci-fi short. If so, I would not have been pleased with the ending. Rather, I believe the film causes us to see a historical event through the lens of genre film. As a result, it invites us not only to shape our perspective on how we view these events but also how we could think about the future.
In case you missed it, here’s Adam Nieri’s take on other excellent recent free sci-fi shorts.
My five top picks in short sci-fi from DUST at YouTube. I’m glad I decided to revisit DUST, a wonderful community of short, free sci-fi films