"Excessive use of a mobile phone leads a man to wake up inside his phone."
A clear expression of current times, this is one of those short films that are so characteristic and representative of its age that they seem necessary. Created by Japan-based director Mackenzie Sheppard, Man In Phone presents two main characters, an emphasis on an object and technology (could be read as a metamorphosis), and a strong internal conflict. It describes a portrait of addiction to mobile devices (probably also to social networks) and how it affects a couple’s relationship.
Staged inside a mobile phone and in urban locations, the short achieves its claustrophobic feeling and markedly subjective narration by employing close-ups, extreme close-ups, camera placement and narration from the POV of the man inside the phone (including synchronization of POV camera moves with those of the actor’s face), and frequent use of internal sounds (heavy breathing, etc.). The director also put special emphasis on transmitting a feeling of loss of control. For this, he employed sped up footage, fast editing, moving cameras and motion within the frame. Visual rhythm becomes so high at times that it is dizzying to the spectator. The expressive actor’s performance contributes to transmitting the concept of loss of control.
A lot of work has been dedicated to sound design, which plays an important role in creating the film’s subjective perception from the POV of the man, as well as in setting the mood and rhythm of the film. It’s also used to trigger another conflict, when the man hears the phone’s battery is running out.
Visual rhythm is usually high, created through editing, camera moves, motion within the frame (there’s barely a static image), complemented by sound. There’s frequent retiming of clips (both slow motion and sped up shots), as well as abundant use of compositing to relate visual elements. The grotesque style of performance adds to the expressive qualities of the short. Also worth noting, the ending features a fragmentation sequence created by renowned Polish VFX studio Platige Image.