Warning: Spoilers for the short film Shelter
Often I have spent hours watching movies or series only to be left feeling disappointed when they did not leave up to my expectations.
And then I stumbled upon a short film called Shelter. I was never really a big fan of short films, but this short film deeply moved me in a way that I never thought was possible, in a way that many longer series have failed.
Shelter is a six-minute animated short film/ music video written by Porter Robinson and produced by A-1 Pictures and Crunchyroll. The film follows the story of a seventeen-year-old girl Rin who lives in a futuristic simulation all alone.
The story starts with an upbeat tone which later turns into something much more tragic but ends on a hopeful note. The short film is available on Youtube, and I highly recommend watching the video before reading ahead. It is just six minutes long, and I highly doubt that it will disappoint you.
Imagine how painful it would be waking up each day in a world where no other human than you exists. That is how Rin has been living for around seven years. She controls virtual reality with the help of a high-tech tablet that can manifest whatever she draws into the 3d world. She wakes up each day and plays with her tablet by building different landscapes, but there is a limit to her powers. The background and the landscapes that Rin creates are shining brightly, contrasting the loneliness she feels within. The beauty of the virtual world cannot make up for the absence of human beings.
She is stuck all alone without any memories until one day when she stumbles upon a swing that she did not create. When this happens, some of her repressed memories come up to the surface. Then the audience along with Rin is thrust back into memories of her childhood.
Rin watches herself growing up alongside her father between the ages of seven to ten, who showers her with lots of love and affection. When her father finds out that probably an asteroid or another planet is about to hit Earth, he starts building a spaceship for his daughter. Probably because he didn't have much time, he built a one-seater spaceship from the start. He balances his time between spending time with her daughter and working on the spaceship. And as the asteroid was about to collide with their planet, he sends away his daughter on the spaceship with a smile on his face.
After learning this, Rin breaks down until she receives a message on her tablet from her father. The letter whose translation I found on Reddit reads as follows -
There was just so little time left after you were born.
I don't know how much love I managed to pour into raising you after your mother died... But your smile kept me going. (^_^)
I would like to have come with you, but I couldn't.
I wanted you to forget everything and move on... I knew you'd be alright. But you'll get lonely, and remember.
I know you'll grow strong, and read this letter someday.
I really wish we could have spent more time together. I'm sorry.
You were so young back then, too young to understand what they meant. So let me repeat...
My final words to you."
I kept on wondering what her dad's final words were until I found out that the beautiful song which created an upbeat atmosphere in the film, in reality, is her dad's final words to her. The entire song is written as a final conversation between Rin and her dad.
I could never find the right way to tell you
Have you noticed I've been gone?
'Cause I left behind the home that you made me
But I will carry it along
And it's a long way forward, so trust in me
I'll give them shelter, like you've done for me
And I know, I'm not alone, you'll be watching over us
Until you're gone
When I'm older, I'll be silent beside you
I know words won't be enough
And they won't need to know the names on our faces
But they will carry on for us
"And I know, I'm not alone, you'll be watching over us" is the last line echoing in the background as Rin is feeling overwhelmed with emotions upon remembering her dad's sacrifices. Even if the memories of her past fill her with sadness, they are also ultimately what gives her strength.
Rin knows that she is all alone in the space floating in the middle of nowhere, and it is highly likely that she will die in the simulation. It is truly a tragic situation, but what makes it a hopeful tragedy instead of just tragedy is Rin's outlook and her determination to move ahead despite the sadness she feels. The last words the audience hears from her mouth are, "Thank You" before the film ends.
When you watch the film, you probably won't be able to stop yourself from feeling a deep sense of sadness for Rin. But by the end, both the audience and Rin realize that it is okay to feel sadness, but it is important to acknowledge her father's sacrifice and not simply be overcome by grief and to move ahead even if the future seems unclear.
The name of the film represents the father's efforts to protect his daughter and give her hope by building a shelter for her. Shelter is a beautiful work of art that touches upon universal themes of loneliness, sacrifice, and unconditional love in a simple manner within just six minutes.
is a young writer from India who is currently pursuing Mass Media. Apart from reading and writing, she spends most of her time daydreaming and listening to music. You can find her on Instagram at @aastha.1703