A man finds himself living dual lives, but which one is real and which one is a dream. We take a look at the short film Parallel Lives.
Mario Caroni (director of Nerd Forever) is back with a new and very interesting concept with Parallel Lives. Set in Italy, the film sees Marco ( played by Marco Bellisai) as a successful and rather arrogant software salesman by day, but at night, when he is asleep, he becomes an alternative version of himself, only this time a penniless man looking for work. The problem is, Marco doesn’t know which of these lives is real and which is just a figment of his imagination.
Like Caroni’s earlier effort (Nerd Forever), Parallel Lives has a fantastic and original concept. It’s an idea that would make for an excellent Spike Jonze movie. The main problem Parallel Lives has is in its execution. The film had little in terms of budget (just 1150 euros to be exact) and most likely a miniscule crew. This makes for the film to look a little jarring and dare we say amateur at times. A lot of the shots are taken from a corner of the room or street and it reminded me of maybe watching CCTV footage more than a serious movie. Good cinematography would have taken this concept to a completely different league. As would better audio.
So would have the pacing. At times, we are doing little than watching the main characters do next to nothing – eating a sandwich, playing a board game, pouring skittles into a bowl and filling it up with Fanta (??). Each little clip added nothing to the story and hindered the progression more than anything. They could have easily been removed and nothing would have been lost. After all, the film comes in just under an hour. This, with smart editing, could have been cut right down to 30 minutes in total and would have been a stronger short film.
Normally, when someone describes a film as featuring “non actors”, alarm bells usually start to ring and you dread the worst. Yet, I really enjoyed the performances by all those involved. Dialogue wasn’t forced and there was a sense of realism in the way lines were delivered. The acting was really good, so to say it was performed by people who have little to no experience, is pretty remarkable.
I believe Marco Caroni has the potential to become a great director, but he needs to make sure that he is smart with decisions. I have had the pleasure of reviewing two of his films now and both had fantastic stories. They could have been five star films had they not have had the little mistakes that can be fixed easily before filming.
Overall, I enjoyed Parallel Lives and I think the premise is so good, I would love to see Caroni return to it in a few years time once he has a budget. It would make for an excellent feature.