“Until the Very Last Moment”: the End of the World
by Jennarose Manimtim


If “Until the Very Last Moment,” were the only film to watch at the very last moment before the end of the world, those in Isla Vista Theater 2 on Thursday, April 2 probably wouldn’t mind watching it again — with pleasure.
The short films showed prior to the main event were all worthy of the big screen: humorous, yet satirical, simple in technicalities (most of the films were taped on campus) yet thematically complex and even polemic.

Don’t worry, conservative, evangelical Christians. There’s no need to be offended. Nor is there reason for atheists, agnostics or non-church goers to overfeed hungry egos. Yet let none be misled. “Until the Very Last Moment” is as far from apathetic and indecisive as it is from being zealously radical. Steven Ray Morris fuses both opposites into a stimulating, thought-provoking, humorous film about living and hoping. Viewers are forced to ask themselves what they would do if they were in the places of any of the characters, especially the protagonist, Johanna, who has to decide whether or not she will believe the world is going to end. The film seems to have a closer in that it shows whether or not the world does come to an end on the anticipated date, but it does not allow viewers to leave with a sense of closure. Viewers still have to close the question for themselves without any religious enthusiasts or firmly disbelieving peers.
The most entertaining feature of the film is watching all the familiar scenes pass through the screen: the UCen, the lagoon, Ellison Hall, IV, etc. It’s like playing “I Spy” or a guessing game while you watch. With scene change, you can’t help but try to guess where the characters are: are they on campus or are they in IV? The film itself is funny, but the familiar setting adds a differently level of humor and entertainment. While the camera walks along with characters as they move through campus or the iconic neighborhood of IV, viewers will find themselves asking, “I wonder if I’ll see myself,” and saying, “Look! That’s where I’m going to live next year!” or, “I could have sworn I saw those hippies dancing around!”
One student, after watching Ryan Turner’s short film, “The Naked Guy,” which ended up on the winning list of the 10-10-10 Student Film Competition at the 24th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, commented, laughing, “I’m never going to look at the elevators at Ellison the same way again.” The uncanny familiarity adds a special level of entertainment that only students or residents of IV can experience. Students will share the inside jokes of the characters and those behind them.
Although many of the short films shared the same settings on campus and in IV, each film was unique it its own way and some did not take place in familiar settings. The first, “The Flute Player,” written and filmed by D.A. Metrov, another multi-talented filmmaker, screenwriter, and artist, was not set in either campus or IV. His film is about a grouchy priest who ends up finding his own redemption from a mentally challenged and troubled young man, displaying the thought-provoking thread that runs throughout each of the films screened. David Finkelstein’s film, on the other hand, was not set in any definite location. His film is created entirely from works of art. The sound in the background sounds like either fire crackling, or pen scratching on paper. His work can be considered the epitome of mixed media, consisting of paintings, photographs, both old and new, and moving pictures — literally.

“The Naked Guy” appears to be complete nonsense, but within the humor of the silly stories of an older man getting stoned at parties filled with young people and men mistakenly taken for women, is the comment on common voyeurism. The theme is faintly reminiscent of Cristina Peri Ross’ short story, “The Fallen Angel” (“El angel caído). Regardless if it be a young, male fellow university student running around in a blue wig and a full bridal dress chasing a another male student, this time more awkward with arms flailing, as seen in silent film, “The Internet Girl,” submitted to the real Loud Film Festival two years ago, each film has it’s uniqueness and contemplative complexities.
It’s no wonder that IV Theater 2 was filled to its ultimate capacity. Many, if not most, were related by blood or mutual association with the cast and crew, but those who managed to find a seat in the tiny theater might have felt left out, knowing that they are not part of any of the networks, but didn’t regret attending.
Each of the short films were just as witty, comical, and unique as “Until the Very Last Moment” in their own particular ways; each “must-sees.”