Lorenzo Sportielli shows a gritty, unwelcoming yet possible vision of the future, in his sci-fi thriller Index Zero.
The year is 2035 and Europe has become the ‘United States of Europe’, with the people in charge now deciding who is sustainable and who is not sustainable, in other words who will live and who will die. The film follows a couple, Kurt and Eve, who are trying to make their way across the barren wastelands of what now appears to be the majority of Europe, if not the entire world, in the hopes of reaching a better place on the other side of the great wall. With no food, very little water and Eve being pregnant, every day is a struggle to keep on fighting for what they want, to live.
Their gruelling trek appears to have come to an end when they finally reach the borders of a city, however the only chance of acceptance is for yourself to be proven to be sustainable. If you are in this ‘Index of sustainability’ then you are put on a programme to keep you that way, if not then you are simply discarded. Unfortunately for Kurt and Eve only one is sustainable, but they will carry on fighting to be together and for the life that they deserve.
The landscapes and colour scheme for Index Zero are really what make it so incredible, they are perfectly chosen to represent this wasteland of days gone by. The constant grey tinge that the picture has brings you into the film through making you feel the character’s pain of endless suffering, and the post-apocalyptic land, which was filmed in Bulgaria, only adds to this with its desert terrain that sports various abandoned buildings.
Although overall it is a great film, it was slightly let down in the first act, due to it being prolonged beyond what was needed. It makes sense that there was hardly any dialogue to begin with and a lot of walking and hard-to-watch tunnelling through small holes were involved to show, not only the torture that Kurt and Eve had to endure, but also the realism of their humanity. However more context could have been given about the overall plot earlier on; once they made it past the great wall and the story kicked off it was an interesting and edge-of-your-seat watch, but then it was suddenly over.
The idea behind the plot of Index Zero is a gripping and thought-provoking one, that in the very near future we could be divided up into groups of who can live and who can die, who is more likely to be able to survive and use up fewer resources than someone else. This idea is slowly becoming less science-fiction and more reality, as director Lorenzo Sportielli has noted that these days the European Union care more about the condition of the economy than people’s welfare, they believe that by saving the sustainable people we are some how saving the world. Sportielli goes to say that the ‘United States of Europe’ is not a fictional idea, it is inevitable.
Dir: Lorenzo Sportiello
Scr: Lorenzo Sportiello, Claudio Corbucci, Francesco Cioce
Starring: Simon Merrells, Ana Ularu, Antonia Liskova
Prd: Giusepie Gargiulo
DOP: Ferran Paredes
Music: Lorenzo Sportiello
Country: UK, Italy
Run time: 90 mins
Index Zero plays at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 20th June and 21st June at Cineworld, Edinburgh