Doppelbänger – Short Film Review (Fantasia Festival 2020)

You ever get incredibly high and pass out with your hand down your pants while watching Chobits and or Westworld? Look, I think we all have done exactly this, and I’m not here to judge you. In fact, this is a safe space (relatively speaking, of course), and I want to *validate* your desire to.. bang that really hot looking robot. I get it. We all get it. But most importantly here, Sofian Khan gets it. His short film Doppelbänger clocks in at 15 minutes and will be making it’s international debut at Fantasia Film Festival 2020 which takes place virtually from August 20th through to September 2nd 2020. Recently, I was given the distinct pleasure to check out this short film and I have to say there’s something so truly exhilarating about finding a short film that is so utterly perfect in how it balances the weight it carries – the social commentary and fear inherent in science fiction, the dry gallows humor of staring into the technological abyss, the micro-budget, and extremely talented actors Gibson Frazier and Annapurna Sriram playing multiple roles, including the roles of robots. Doppelbänger tells the tale of a future wherein, much like the cheap lightbulbs from Wal-Mart, humans are becoming ever more obsolete with each passing year. Each human has a “Doppelsynth” – an identical replica of themselves that is a robot that is tasked with doing the work of humans. Tech industries fell first, and our leading man George, finds himself apprehensive about when the robots will come for his writing career. We first meet George when he’s fucking the absolute shit out of a super hot Doppelsynth, and not unlike the anime Chobits, he bangs her so hard she gets a blue screen of death and starts short circuiting. Using a Doppelsynth for this purpose is illegal (rude) and George hoped to hide his android shame from his George Doppel who has been tasked to George’s office job. With a dead Doppel in his bed, George must find the original woman on who the Doppelsynth is based and in finding her – he finds someone who is utterly unimpressed with him, but someone he forms a seeming immediate and illicit connection to.
They race against time to hide the evidence of George’s sex related misadventures and like many a robotic quickie before it, it ends all too quickly and leaves the viewer wanting more.
Shot in black and white using a single location for a set, Doppelbänger skillfully builds a world that is at once believable and necessary. In times where so many of us feel married to our phones and devices, Doppelbänger is the witty commentary we need though it might make me question how attractive that new iPhone design really is, and if I should booty call my Blackberry.

Follow Sofian Khan on Twitter and learn more about his work here.

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