Genesis: A Neon-Soaked 80s-Inspired Cyberpunk Short

Neon Dystopia has the honor of premiering the remarkable short film from director David Placer, Genesis. It’s neon-soaked aesthetic immediately pulled me into the world, no surprise there. The 80s-inspired synth score from Siddhartha Barnhoorn and Sound Design from Dave Walker complete the immersion. I can’t say that there is much real acting in this short from Natalia Herraiz (Girl) or Emilio Caparros (Motorist), but the minimalist approach that Placer uses to tell his story, with the aid of Photography Director Ana Ramos and Art Director Julian Lopez, make up for this in spades. That beings said, Caparros does an excellent job of showing emotion from his hands alone, which is worthy of note. Ghost in the Shell is an obvious influence on Genesis, but the ideas are applied in an original way leaving the grimy streets, cyborgs, and virtual reality as story elements and not simply fun references. The short was produced by David Delgado. Spoilers ahead, so check out the short itself before reading further.

My first time through, I didn’t quite grasp the story’s entirety because there is no dialogue and there is no exposition. As the Motorist watches a fellow cyborg (The Girl) below be attacked by street thugs, I expected this Night Driving Avenger to leap into action to save her. However, I was denied my vigilante tropes and instead, as the girl is beaten by the thugs she transfers her conciousness into the Motorist’s bike. From there, she guides the Motorist to her discarded shell. The Motorist then links with the Girl’s body, cyborg to cyborg, and communes with her in virtual reality. Here, they under go a synthesis and we witness the genesis of a new being that encompasses them both. For a story told in seven minutes, that is pretty deep.

I can’t say enough good things about this short, and would love to see more in this vein from Placer in the future.

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Veritas is a cyberpunk and writer who enjoys all aspects of the cyberpunk genre and subculture. He also journeys deeply into the recesses of the dissonance exploring his nihilistic existence. If you'd like to contact Isaac L. Wheeler (Veritas), the founder and editor-in-chief of Neon Dystopia, you can do so here:
  1. The way I see it,

    The film opens with Motorist searching for the last cyborg survivor as they struggle on the losing side of a war against humans. The city is vast and Motorist looking out upon it from a hilltop reflects the isolated state of the cyborgs.
    Motorist is never explicitly depicted as male or female. Motorist is neither. In cyberspace, Girl has breasts, whereas Motorist has neither breasts nor a penis. In fact, in the cut that introduces us to Girl (a tasteful shot of her feminine rear) we are not initially aware the focus has shifted from Motorist to Girl until Girl’s head is revealed – a clue as to the androgyny of Motorist.

    To elaborate, Motorist is the equivalent of “God” for cyborgs. And cyberspace is the equivalent of the afterlife.
    Thus, what one would need to do in order to meet God is to visit the afterlife. This is why Girl does not fight back when she is beaten and killed (physically) by humans – she is hoping Motorist will “find” her in cyberspace.

    The moment Girl dies – in what is hands down the best sequence in the film, well done – Motorist carries her “soul” through cyberspace and channels all of her information into himself (I give him a male moniker for convenience sake). The imagery in this scene is extremely yonic: Girl journeys through a ‘V’ of light, representing life and birth. (V for Vagina and all that.) The film then cuts to the ‘V’ of light emitting from Motorist’s motorbike, connecting him to these themes of life and birth – he essentially is life for Girl.

    Catholic lore is brought to mind now.
    Just as God had used Mary as the vessel to carry his Son, so has Motorist used Girl to create a new higher being: Genesis, (another biblical reference). As Genesis, life can begin again.

    One further insight:
    In cyberspace, Motorist is yellow and Girl is blue. Yellow and blue when mixed together become green. However, Genesis is not green. Genesis is red.
    This is because it’s the reaction of the mix that matters, not the colours. Motorist and Girl became an evolved form of electromagnetic energy when they fused, and this energy cannot be seen by humans without the use of infrared – hence, the only way the director can portray Genesis to his human viewers, is through the colour red.

  2. Those are some great interpretations of this very artistic movie.


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