"Gravity" comes hurtling like so much space debris into theaters this weekend, where Alfonso Cuaron's long-awaited thriller is expected to do big business to go along with the rave reviews (here's ours). What folks may not know is that there's even more, but from this point forward, there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven't seen the film, stop reading.
As you already know, "Gravity" follows Sandra Bullock's astronaut, Ryan Stone, who is caught adrift in space, fighting for her survival as she tries to figure out a way to return to Earth after her ship is destroyed. For much of the film she is beyond radio contact, however as "Gravity" nears the finale, in an attempt to reach Mission Control, she winds up speaking with Aningaaq, an Inuit ice-fisherman in Greenland (played by Orto Ignatiussen). They don't speak the same language, but they do manage to communicate with each other, in one of the picture's most special moments. And there's even more.
While it has been curiously been under-publicized, "Gravity" co-writer Jonas Cuaron created a seven-minute short, "Aningaaq," which essentially expands that section of the film, focusing on the the titular character as he speaks with Bullock's distant voice from space. The short has played the Venice Film Festival and apparently accompanied some screenings of "We're The Millers" (wha?) where it probably made little sense to those who saw it out of context. Here's the official synopsis:
Aningaaq, an Inuit fisherman camping on the ice over a frozen fjord, talks through a two way radio with a dying astronaut who is stranded in space, 500 kilometers above earth. Even though he doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Greenlandic, they manage to have a conversation about dogs, babies, life and death.
Needless to say, it sounds like a fascinating piece of work, and it certainly moved Bullock herself. “[He] went there and shot this absolutely beautiful piece of loneliness and emptiness on Earth where this man is calling from,” the actress said at the Los Angeles press conference for the film. “It's so beautiful, and I get goosebumps thinking about it.”
Currently, there don't seem to be any plans to screen it theatrically, though UK writer Neil Young suggests it would make a perfect post-credits piece to "Gravity." Instead, Warner Bros. are simply hanging on to it for the eventual DVD release of the movie, though perhaps enough of a push may get them to change their minds. [Criticwire via Rope Of Silicon]