Arlo Alone by Nicole Dorsey

A young woman comes to terms with her own loneliness in a world where in-person contact has become a rarity.

Arlo lives in a futuristic world where in-person contact is limited. As she comes to terms with her isolation, she gets an opportunity to reach out of her bubble of loneliness and make a connection.

Director Nicole Dorsey — alongside writer Katrina Saville and producers Karen Harnisch and Cia Mellegers — has crafted a powerful meditation on the isolation and loneliness that comes from a world overwhelmed by screens, gadgets and technology.

This short sci-fi drama is essentially a slice-of-life portrait of a young woman’s life — only this is life in the future. Arlo, as played by Grace Glowicki, goes about her day as she wakes and then works, but her contact with others is constantly mediated by electronic interfaces and images.

Visually she seems to occupy only enclosed spaces, her only windows either physically small or completely electronic. She is sealed off from others, leaving her in a world both airless and claustrophobic.

One of the pleasures of sci-fi as a genre is inhabiting a world that both echoes our existing one while extrapolating upon the often dystopian consequences of the choices we enact today. The worldbuilding in “Arlo Alone” is a clever remix of elements we can find in our reality, extended to both its clinical and stylish extremes. The elegantly minimalist cinematography, set design and costumes work together seamlessly to craft a world that is sleek and stylish, but also sterile and anodyne.

Thoughtful, visually striking and well-crafted, “Arlo Alone” is a powerful commentary on the growing influence of screens and interfaces that increasingly mediate human technology. We may soon live in a world where nearly every image is electronic, but the human desire for real, elemental connection and touch will never go away.

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