Film

Humanity Flees to the Forest in this Bleak Sci-Fi Short

Set just before the apocalypse 'The Edge' uses a realistic approach to show humanity's decline.

Kevin Holmes

Image courtesy of Simon Saulnier

If society starts to crumble—be it from climate change, nukes, zombies, whatever—while some people may retreat to the safety of their underground bunkers, others will probably flee the cities and head to the forests. Back from whence we came, as it were. That's the idea behind this French sci-fi short by director Simon Saulnier called The Edge.

As the brief prologue explains it's set in a future where the Earth is dying and the forest has become a haven, a symbol. All tiers of society have fled there, eking out a living, be it robbing others or using basic survival tactics to get by. The latter is how a young woman, Hawa, and her father attempt to survive until something Hawa holds dear is stolen. Which spurns her to head off for some good old fashioned revenge against the thieves who took it. 

Image courtesy of Simon Saulnier

Saulnier shot the film on location in the forests and Vosges Mountains around Saverne, France. It's that sense of realism that gives the film its dreary yet believable atmosphere, because it feels like a world that could exist, with a bunch of scruffy people attempting to get by in a damp forest (a bit like 2015's The Survivalist). It's bleak, but possible. So it's no surprise that Saulnier cites Children of Men as inspiration. It is set in a futuristic, but realistic and recognizable, England where humanity can no longer reproduce and the youngest person on Earth has just died. In Saulnier's film however it's not the youngest human, but the forests that are dying. 

"[Children of Men is] very realistic in terms of its social context, especially in light of current events," notes Saulnier. "I like to play around with reality, modify it, combine it with a warning about what's happening around us today. I wanted to put this story in a very realistic sci-fi context, so The Edge is set right before 'the apocalypse' happens. It's a very human film, raw and organic, set in a universe created from the elements that were on hand, and it reflects a world in perpetual decline."

You can check it out below. It's in French so make sure you have captions on and it's only available for a week, although they may extend that, so watch it while you can.

To find out more about the film head to its website here.

Related:

Meet the Sci-Fi Artist Fixated on the Grime of Mexico City

Inside Adult Swim's New Rotoscoped Sci-Fi Comedy 'Dream Corp LLC'

Apocalyptic Paintings Modernize the Book of Revelation