Tumbling around the depths of space is tense enough. Doing it alone only adds to that strain, and when things start to go wrong, you’re in trouble. That is the basic premise behind the science fiction short Waltz for One from filmmaking team Intellectual Propaganda.
Lone astronaut Arthur Whitman orbits the Earth in an undersized space capsule, attempting to break the record for longest solo space flight. It’s like he’s soaring through space in a soda can. As he counts down the hours on his endurance test, problems begin to pile up. He loses communication with his home base, a malfunctioning warning system beeps continually, and he unravels beneath the mounting pressure.
Director John Merizalde and cinematographer David Torciva get a lot of mileage out of the juxtaposition of the endless expanse of space with the claustrophobic confines of Whitman’s pod. Outside there is all the room imaginable, while inside he can scarcely move or breathe. Whitman is lonely, isolated, and at times the constantly shrieking beacon almost mocks him. This is one of the more overt references to 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are more, some obvious, others less so.
Waltz for One definitely has some merit, especially considering the film’s budget totaled less than $700. But in the end you’re left wondering what the film is building towards, and what exactly the point is. Still, it’s a cool little journey to get to that position.