After the Shipwreck (2013) – By Kyle Hytonen

The purpose of film is to take us through time and space and show us through the eyes of characters we may or may not relate to. It is a film-maker’s vision that brings these subjects to the film, sometimes the film is an allegory for a dream or even a nightmare of that director’s vision. After the Shipwreck, a very moody tale painted by the brush of the expressionism film movement is a fine example of a director’s vision, be it a nightmare or a dream, translated to the world of film.

After the Shipwreck lends its style and approach to the narrative very much to the Expressionist style of film-making; rich black and white photography accentuated with deep shadows, extreme camera angles and gothic production design.

In a void of space, a huddled mass of strangers scurry about aimlessly. The faces of these people are sullen, dark and vacant. Some scream out for help, and others yell in anger. These people are stuck in Limbo, a place some believe to be the neutral space between heaven and hell. Were some too good for hell, or did others just not make it into heaven?
The grief, confusion and frustration are painted on the faces with a very theatrical approach, which once again allows the expressionism to ring true.

As a new group of people are brought into this void there seems to be a disturbance. One of the new arrivals in Limbo is a priest. Some rejoice, while others scowl at the man as if he is the one responsible for keeping them there. Things turn for a loop when the priest himself seems absolutely helpless in Limbo, screaming to God for not only repentance but also guidance. With its foundation of film style established, After the Shipwreck begins dissecting the ideals of faith, heaven, hell and man’s own existence in a very eye opening way.

After the Shipwreck definitely delivers in the style department; the film is a marvel to look at, with terrific cinematography, composition and set design, all gold standards of expressionism. Writer/director Roberto Prestia shows his passion for the genre by leading his cast and crew full on into a very original and eye popping short. Much like the ambiguous setting of the film, you may walk away from After the Shipwreck not quite sure what to make of it. I took away an interpretation of the ultimate nightmare, one spilled out from the director’s mind onto screen. It isn’t quite heavy in substance, once may almost feel like they are in cinematic limbo when the end credits roll. After the Shipwreck serves as a mild glimpse into director Prestia’s psyche, a nightmare that has been well translated into the world of film.

More info on the film can be found at