Next Floor

Next Floor

The Canadian short Next Floor is only eleven minutes long, or really more like eight minutes, subtracting the titles and credits. There is no dialogue, except one character announcing “Next floor” several times.

Events are depicted in an exaggerated and over the top manner, likely intended in part to elicit laughs, but also just to be attention-grabbingly weird and disturbing, like something from David Lynch.

The entirety of the film takes place in some sort of formal banquet hall where a number of people are seated around a long table. They are all grotesque to varying degrees, though one more normal looking woman seems not quite to fit, and seems rather distressed to be in their company. The table contains large platters of mostly meat dishes—whole animals carved up. The quantity of food is unrealistically massive, for effect. Silent waiters efficiently move about the table, assisting the diners in keeping their plates full, and bringing more courses.

The people eat in a joyless frenzy, stuffing themselves wordlessly. They retain some residue of good breeding in their general deportment, the way they’re dressed, the way they occasionally gaze about them with a sort of disdain. They appear neither happy, nor willing to admit they are suffering.

A series of highly unlikely events—again, presumably intended at least in part to be comic—makes their seemingly endless meal more and more of an ordeal.

From pretty early in this short film, I assumed they are supposed to be in Hell. I think the idea is that like Sisyphus rolling his rock forever up the hill, these people cannot help gorging themselves on this meal that brings them no enjoyment, a meal that goes on forever.

The simplest explanation would be that their sin in life was that of gluttony, though I suppose in some vaguer, more fanciful way perhaps some political point is intended, like these are rich people who fed off the poor their whole lives.

There’s really not much to this film, not much of a “story” certainly. But I mostly like the general look and feel of it. It’s a little bit funny and a little bit creepy.

Next Floor is kind of an interesting minor offering, but certainly nothing that had much meaning for me.

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