In space, no one can hear you scream…except some guy on a fjord in icy Greenland, as it turns out.
Sandra Bullock is given much due credit for her performance in Best Picture hopeful “Gravity” — after all, she’s onscreen for every second of the film, usually alone. In one of the most memorable and moving scenes, her stranded astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone is floating alone in space in a Russian Soyuz capsule and has a glimmer of hope that she’s regained contact with Earth. But it wouldn’t have been possible without a little help from a guy named Orto.
Stone, near the end of her rope, manages to patch through on her radio, before realizing that the man on the other end doesn’t speak English. She has a sort of catharsis during the conversation, howling like a dog, listening to a young child cry and, it would appear, letting go of her fear.
Now, we get to see who’s on the other end of that staticky radio.
Jonas Cuarón, son of “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuarón and co-writer of the feature’s script, wrote and directed a six-and-a-half minute companion short, “Aningaaq,” which reveals the other half of that conversation. It stars Orto Ignatiussen as the title Aningaaq, an Inuit fisherman who has traveled with his dogs to a fjord in Greenland. The flipside of Stone’s desperate attempts to explain her situation and seek help: Aningaaq’s sadness about his dying dog fall on ears as good as deaf.
Warner Bros, which produced “Gravity,” is submitting the younger Cuarón’s film for consideration in the live-action short film category at the Academy Awards. If both “Gravity” and “Aningaaq” are nominated, it would be a first for the awards: a film and its spin-off nominated in the same year.