We Judged The BAFTA Noms By Gifs We Could Find On Giphy
Each year a secret cabal of entertainment insiders gathers in an underground cavern to determine good taste. Once the human sacrifices have been made, they debate, they fight, they battle, over which film should be awarded that simple title: "Best".
This happens across the world, during selections for the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and, in Britain, the BAFTAs. And, of course, they've done it again, with nominees for Best Film now available thanks to the workings of the inner sanctum.
But what are these films about, man? What do they make us feel?
The best way to discover this isn't to watch the films - no, that would be too easy, too base. The best way to ascertain what they're really about is by searching for their titles on Giphy and interpreting the results.
At first glance Giphy's search function simply unveils a series of confusing images, but when considered carefully they form a coherent narrative.
A helicopter flies towards a newly-constructed skyscraper, far from civilisation as we know it. Overcrowding in cities has forced planners to shift construction to mountains and open plains, a response to population density that is, in truth, inevitable. The chopper carries the first inhabitants of this new world.
Though you may think that the simple fact of isolation would eat away at these poor souls, they in fact embrace their living situation. Due to the space available the apartments in this skyscraper are huge, the doors towering over those who live within. Even the windows are papered over with photographs of lost cities so as to make them feel more at home.
Thousands of years later, the descendants of these brave few have lost touch with their species. They barely remember their ancestors, for they are lost to time. There is just one, uncertain, memory, as the tower's seer scrawls a single word: HUMAN.
Ultimately, one brave soul makes first contact with HUMAN, the beings on the other side of the mountain. They gain their trust, and they are rewarded with smaller versions of themselves.
Giphy's Arrival is not only a remarkable film, it is a remarkable vision of the future.
La La Land
La La Land appears more conventional than the generation-spanning adventure of Arrival, though it has its own charms.
An attractive man and woman approach each other, but never touch. They cannot, for they are under the influence of a dark curse.
This cursed couple, doomed never to embrace, stumbles into the world of cartoons and animation. It's a little like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, though really the closest approximation is the music video for 'Take On Me'.
Yes, they are trapped, slipping between reality and sketch. This spiritual sequel to Aha's classic video clip is at once exhilerating and devastating. We can all see ourselves in their animated faces.
And in a genuinely shocking twist ending, it is revealed that the film was actually a prequel to Disney's Cars.
It's a little unconventional for a television show to be nominated for Best Film, but this is what the evidence tells us.
A whisper of smoke streaks across the screen, illuminated by the light of the moon. In this way, Moonlight announces itself to incredible effect.
We are drawn in, we are hooked. We want more.
A man, we know not who, drives down an open highway. As the scene is filmed in daylight it is genuinely disconcerting, there is something otherwordly about its presence in this film/television show. A boy leans out of the car, riding the wind.
We are all this boy.
This twisted image ends the film. The boy, now a giant, holds the moon tightly. It flickers, and dies. There is no moon, now, and there is no boy.
We killed the moonlight.
I, Daniel Blake
Our descent into utter chaos continues as we attempt to decipher the plot of I, Daniel Blake. This is a grim world indeed.
A lone woman sips champagne, resigned to the fact that she will have to live her own life, and not that of those she envies. She is a captive of the gig economy, a refugee from the corporate world who was inevitably consumed by a parallel darkness.
She drives cars, she rents out apartments, she delivers food. But she no longer feels anything.
Daniel Blake is the only man who can save her, but his unfamiliarity with the personal computer almost dooms her poor soul to an eternity of loneliness. He has no idea how to write an email, let alone request an Uber.
But over time, he embraces technology, eventually mastering it. By the time he has accepted his new identity as a venture capitalist, he has remade the world in his image. And it is a better one. The woman in Act One is free to pursue her hobbies, and she does. She seeks the good life.
But Blake's machinations have not left him without enemies, in particular one who threatens to make everything fall apart. The upcoming sequel, We, Daniel Blake, will be a Fast Times at Ridgemont High-esque adventure, following the hijinks of Blake and his adversary.
We can't wait!
Manchester By The Sea
The final film to be nominated quite honestly remains a total mystery. Nothing on this Earth could help us understand.
As the film opens, a man deploys the traditional facepalm to indicate annoyance or frustration. But to the best of our knowledge there is nothing that could have irritated him, and the film holds no answers.
The vast majority of the movie is footage of an aquarium. We attempted to tally the creatures that swam by: we counted five turtles, 1,100 fish, and then realised that we were looking at a gif. It was pretty embarrassing.
Even more frustrating, there was no hint of Manchester. The sea part, yes. But why Manchester?
The third clue gave nothing away. Darth Vader could be driving anywhere, there is no indication that he is cruising through a post-industrial city in the north of England.
This entire project has been a waste of time, and we feel compelled to tell you that Manchester By The Sea is also a waste of time. There's nothing for you here. If you like Darth Vader, see Rogue One instead. What utter nonsense.
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