Working Title: Chronos; Time of Sand
Tagline: When the hourglass runs out
Logline: Years of mega-droughts have transformed once thriving agricultural lands into an arid wasteland. A lone survivor faces the harsh challenges of living in a desert by traveling to a dew-collecting tower high above the dunes.
Setting: A dystopian future in a hot dry desert.
Mood: “Dune” meets “The Little Prince”
Chronos is the second short film in the A Dressing the Future trilogy. It will be in production in 2019 to 2020 with a scheduled release in the summer of 2020. Chronos is based on a Father Time figure who survives in an environment that has eroded into a desert. He lives in a sand filled house tinkering with sculptures constructed from old analogue time-based instruments. He is a Steampunk-like character who has adapted to his harsh climate by creating a water harvesting structure based on current Fog Catcher designs such as the Warka Water system by Arturo Vittori.
The myth of Chronos spans many centuries, from the vengeful Greek Titan Cronus to Renaissance allegory of Father Time wielding a harvesting scythe. In the film, Chronos represents both the anxiety of the climate change doomsday clock and the real prospect of death from living in such a harsh climate. This is tempered by his resourcefulness and ingenuity which drive him to endure. He grows edible plants such as Aloe Vera, Prickly Pear Cactus, and Cholla Cactus and he makes his clothing with Yucca leaf fibres, which he harvests at his dew collecting apparatus high in the desert plateau.
In the first scene Chronos is working bent over his desk in a dilapidated house where the floor and windows are covered with sand. Shelves on the walls are overflowing with parts from old enlargers, telescopes and cameras. He has flashbacks of the devastating sandstorms that left him homeless but he must confront the sand and wind time and time again to reach his Fog Catcher where he can finally wet his parched lips and collect his edible plants. When he returns home, Chronos ponders his vegetarian diet and the future of his pet iguana.
The A Dressing the Future trilogy consists of three short films depicting survivors in dystopian scenarios caused by fires, floods and desertification. Despite the harsh conditions they face, each character survives with style and grace by means of their creative instincts. The first of these was Waiting for Spring, Persephone and the Pomegranate, who wore a jacket made of pomegranate peels and a mask filled with herbs to protect her from the caustic smoke as she foraged for food in an abandoned orchard. Chronos is the second installment and the third in the series will be based on the impact of floods.
Experimental in tone, relying entirely on visual language to convey narrative and featuring my own original plant-based costume designs, Chronos brings to light our human resilience and ingenuity in the face of our environmental crisis. Compared to my first short film in the series about Persephone, with Chronos my intent is to tell the dramatic arc of the character’s story through the use of visual storytelling to convey the plot. This new film will be imbued with a vibrant palette but instead of the rich red, smoky and dark colours of Waiting for Spring, here tints of Indigo blue and the warm tones of the sun will predominate. Stylistically it will be similar to my previous film with detailed shots of intimate moments and elaborate sets and costumes.
“Whether it’s Mad Max or the Book of Eli, Hollywood has told us that once humanity destroys the earth, our sense of style will go with it. We’ll be destined to dusty clothing that only comes in tan and brown with hard metal accessories. But Nicole Dextras is an environmental artist who thankfully has a colourful vision for post-apocalyptic couture and her inspiration comes directly from the idea of plant-based fashion. Take a look.”
Amanda Paris for the Exhibitionist on CBC Arts