A short film The Black Hole is an example of communication which leaves the audience with the unanswered question in the end. The movie is telling a fiction story about a young man, who stayed at the office till late at night. Being busy with printing copies of the documents, he suddenly gets a strange paper out of the printer. The paper has a big black circle in the middle, and the young man does not pay any attention at first. Afterwards, however, his coffee cup accidentally falls into infinity inside that black circle as if it is a black hole (The Black Hole). At that moment, the audience realized that the film is going to take quite an unexpected turn.
The only character of the story becomes obsessed with greed once he understands the unusual properties of the black hole on the sheet of paper. The setting takes place in current times. However, regarding the old computers in the background, one can assume that it is a period of the early 2000’s.
Even though the movie is very short (approximately three minutes), the main character shows his true nature and gets punishment for it. At first, he uses the black hole to take out his coffee cup from the infinity. Then, he steals a chocolate bar from the vending machine. In the end, he decides to steal some money from the safe in the closed room. However, being absorbed with his greed, he crawls into the safe through the black hole in search of what is left there. As a punishment, the sheet of paper with a black hole falls from the safe, leaving the main character locked inside (The Black Hole). The message that the film creators are trying to deliver is quite simple and clear. Greed can never lead to prosperity and a happy ending.
A short video The Black Hole can be found in public access on YouTube. The total length of the movie is 2:48, and the only character of this story is silent throughout the whole movie. Therefore, there is no analysis of a spoken language in the given example.
At the beginning of the movie, the viewer can see an empty office and a clock hanging on the wall and showing 3 am. The only office worker is trying to copy some papers, but the printer does not work right. Thus, he kicked the printer with his foot, and the device finally gives him a copy. It is a sheet of paper with a black circle in the middle. The office worker puts that paper aside, trying to make other copies. However, his attention turns to the mysterious sheet of paper soon afterwards, when he puts his coffee cup on it and the latter disappears.
After that, he moves his hand down into the black circle on the paper. This way, his hand disappears too and then showed up with a coffee cup in it. The man tries to repeat the operation several times when eventually approaches a vending machine with chocolate bars. He puts the paper sheet on the glass door of the machine and pulls his hand inside the black circle, getting a Snickers bar through the black hole in the paper.
Having started to eat the Snickers, the man notices a close door with a sign “Keep Out”. He approaches the room, puts a black hole on the door and unlocks the door from the inside. The audience can see a fire-extinguisher to the right of the door. Inside the room, there is a big safe. Naturally, the man approaches the safe and sticks a black hole onto it. Pulling his hand through the metal door of the safe, he takes out several bundles of money. In the end, he crawls into the safe to look for what is left there, and the paper sheet with a black hole accidently falls from the safe door. Eventually, the man turns out to be locked inside the safe.
When the man first comes near the vending machine, he is nervous and looks back. He is looking back several times throughout the film. Furthermore, the sheet of paper with the back hole grows bigger and bigger with each next scene. In the beginning, it is a standard size of paper, and at the end, when the man is using it to steal money from the safe, it is much bigger and capable to let an adult man through itself.
The film does not have any soundtrack or background music. All the audience can hear is the sound of a printer beeping almost all the time. Moreover, there is a low frequency sound every time the man comes closer to the black hole. The scenes are shot in dim lights and dull colors. The lights in the film are so feeble that the whole picture seems gray and blue. The skin color of the main character is slightly gray like the rest of the office furniture and equipment. The only bright things in the film are the Snickers bar and the red strips tying the money bundles. Moreover, the lights start flickering once the man enters small room. The shade falls on his face hiding his eyes from the audience. In addition, the main character does not make any sound even after being locked in the safe. He simply knocks several times on the metal door from the inside, receiving no answer but for the forlorn sound of the working printer.
When the man is drinking up his coffee from the paper cup, the recipient watches him from the perspective of the black hole. It is a very unusual shot if compared to the overall picture. The same angle appears again when the cup falls into the hole by accident.
The film consists of the abundance of details that can be noticed after watching it several times. First, it is the clock on the wall, telling that the time is late. The sign “Keep Out” on the door tells that the location of the event is an English-speaking country, probably the USA. There is a fire extinguisher to the right of the door; and further to the right, there is a piece of office furniture with a sign “Mail” on it. Inside the room with a safe, there are some green plants and the shelf with documents. To the left of the safe, the audience can notice a bag with golf clubs. When the man starts pulling out the money from the safe, it becomes obvious that the bank-notes are not the US dollars. It resembles Canadian dollars more with a picture of the face of Queen Elizabeth on them. Therefore, one may assume that the event is happening in Canada, probably in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s.
Regarding the dimensions of communication, the given example is a recorded means of communication. It was prepared in advance, and the viewer ??an access it any time. Moreover, the short film is also a passive means of communication that belongs to passive versus active dimension. It does not give the audience a chance to respond to the communication. It does not provide an opportunity to ask questions directly to the author. The movie is a part of remote dimension; thus, it is easy to transmit the setting to any part of the world. The opportunity to find the film online makes it more accessible for global audience.
Having uploaded its short film in question on YouTube, the company Future Shorts intended to send the message to a wider audience. That step was effective as the film collected more than 20 million views since 2008. The short length of the film is the main reason it became very popular as it manages to deliver a message in a very short time. The audience does not even have time to get bored because the length of the film is less than 3 minutes.
The lack of spoken language in the film is caused by the fact that the main character is alone in the office. If there was somebody else working at night with him, the whole situation would not be possible. Therefore, the audience cannot hear the main character’s voice and create an opinion about his from the beginning.
This example of communication can also be called a lesson as it teaches about severe consequences of greed. The man could not stop by taking just one bar of chocolate and just one bundle of money. His greed overwhelmed him, and he wanted to take all the money from the safe. The message of the film is quite simple – one should not take more than he really needs.
The feeble lights and dull colors of the film make it more vivid that the emotional state of the main character is very depressed. He looks bored and irritated from the first scenes, and he proves his emotional instability when he pushes the same bottom on the printer several times and eventually hits the printer with his foot.
Given that the genre of the film is a fiction, anything can happen there. Even the magical black hole can appear from a regular printer. This black hole is getting bigger with a course of the film. In each next scene, the size of the hole is significantly bigger than in the previous one. These changes are associated with a grave getting deeper as greedy protagonist keeps digging it with his own hands.
Furthermore, one can compare the hole to the magician hat that makes objects disappear and materialize again.
When the office worker discovers the unique properties of his gift, he starts looking back and checking if no one is watching him. Stealing a chocolate bar from the vending machine, he is nervous and paranoid because he is afraid to get caught.
The audience can assume that video camera surveillance was not yet widely used in the offices at the time of the event. Thus, the main character is not afraid to be recorded on video, he is more afraid of somebody to catch him red-handed.
From the beginning of the film, the main character appears round-shouldered and depressed. He looks tired and sleepless as the event takes place in the middle of the night. Most probably, he is not satisfied with his life since it led him to work late at night at the office.
In his attempt to steal money, he gets punished by the unknown being. The black hole appears like a living creature, which is trying to lure poor victim into its cage.
The fact that the man is stealing a Snickers bar tells that he is either too poor that he cannot afford to buy extra chocolate or too insatiable and paltry to walk past free products. Sometimes, people do know limits of their desires and wishes, and they keep taking something that is given to them for free without realizing that this is going to end badly.
It must be pointed out that the unusual perspective from the inside of the black hole is telling the audience that the hole indeed watches its victim. It suggests one more time that the black hole is a living organism hunting for its prey. The deep sound in the background hints that the hole can be dangerous. However, the man in the video cannot hear that sound but only the beeping of a printer.
The way the man is chewing illegally obtained Snickers bar is irritating. It is supposed to create a negative impression on the viewer and show how quickly people forget about moral standards and their implications. Even if the character decides to benefit from his recent discovery, taking all the money from the safe is not wise. Somebody would eventually notice, and there would be a risk of getting exposed.
Instead of being wise and using the magical black hole carefully, its owner gets obsessed with greed and wants to have everything he can get from the safe. He would certainly leave the office forever and would never come back. Being in possession of such an immense sum of money, he would not need to work anymore. However, he chose to be absorbed with his own foolishness, letting the black hole win over him.
The final scene of the film is leaving many questions for the audience. One can only wonder if the man could survive inside the safe until other office workers came to work next morning. In addition, there is always a probability that it was Friday night, and the nearest time somebody would show up at the office is Monday. The poor man would hardly survive two days locked in the vault. He would not have enough air, not mentioning the lack of food and water.
As a passive mean of communication, the film encourages the audience to ask questions in the end; although there is no one who can answer them directly. Thus, each viewer is supposed to create his/her own unique version of the ending. It is obvious that the man is punished for his actions. However, it is not obvious if he repents and prays for saving in the end. Perhaps, he is left in the vault to die from starvation and suffocation. There can be several sequences of the following events, and not all of them presuppose happy ending for the main character.
Furthermore, The Black Hole is a type of story that makes a reader and a viewer put themselves in the main character’s shoes. It is easy to judge a person from the outside. However, one may hardly assume his/her own behavior in the same situation.