This is the end. In an old warehouse at an unknown location, Duncan and Gunda have laboured to perfect a powerful weapon intended to wipe out the human race. Nothing is able to stop this from happening – neither the last minute doubts of Gunda, who decides to fight for a glimmer of hope he sees in humanity, nor Duncan’s last groan of fear upon completion of this dreadful feat. The inner battle between good and evil has came to an end, and darkness prevails. Duncan knows this is the only solution, impassioned by the belief that humans will never be able to do any better because they are beasts, broken inside their minds and hearts. This is what drives him to the very end, activating the fatal red button on the machine… and the earth will gloriously burn. This time, fearless and masked heroes will not be there to save us from our inevitable destiny.

Duncan’s thirst for annihilation is a representation of all humankind at its darkest moment, and this concept lies at the heart of this three minute short: “The Dark Side of The Mind”, the latest film from young and prolific Italian director Giacomo Mantovani (Adamant 2011, Political Asylum 2011) currently in competition for the Virgin Media Shorts, one of the most important short film contests in the UK for young talent around the world. Mantovani shows his ability here both as a director, operating the latest technology with considerable skill, and as a screenwriter, conceiving captivating short stories with their own depth. With “The Dark Side Of The Mind”, Mantovani deals with the neverending conflict between good and evil, hope and despair, fear and courage, as two sides of the same existential coin. Duncan and Gunda’s violent battle is the same unavoidable inner struggle that rips apart every human being. This time the coin has shown the face of death. But in this universe the disaster is the lesser of two evils: immediate human extinction is better than the vain belief that there is something out there, an absolute truth that will save us from ourselves.

This apocalyptic and bleak vision of the future is doubtless prompted by our present circumstances, where the financial crisis, the growing dissatisfaction and general fear that a majority of people are experiencing every day, doesn’t seem to offer a way out. Is the film suggesting that whoever is pushing the button will be the real hero, giving us a moment of infinite relief from an absurd and tiring pantomime? And do we ultimately find ourselves applauding him for doing something the rest of us do not have the strength to do? We expect to see more from this director, who has already been accredited with many successful films which have proven his great talent and technical skills.

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