Film run-time: 10 minutes | Starring Cadence Schuster, Peter Higginson, Corrinne King
Written and Directed by Kristina Mileska, Photography by Andy Kloske, Sound by Emmerek Vanleur
“Asteroid“, a 2015 short film by Kristina Mileska, is an imaginative sojourn into the boundless imagination of a young girl, whose bedtime story rituals with her grandfather carry both into a wondrous world of escape. Adjoining the fantastical dimensions of play with a far more sobering facet of reality, the factual certainties of one child’s life begin to bleed into her playacting. Astrid is on a space mission with her granddad, when things start to go awry with their ship.
Weaving between dueling narratives, one set in the cyberpunk collage of deep space and the other in a familiar present day, Mileska carefully arranges both plots such that each respective thread’s inciting events complement the other, as a bilateral interpretation of the ongoing crisis. Astrid’s world of stars and critical failure match up to the medical emergency that threatens her granddad’s life, and there is a poignant reservation in her grounded self, whose concern only fully manifests in the imagined world.
Implicitly, although never confirmed, the central father figure in Astrid’s life appears to be her grandfather. His deteriorating condition, along with the distortions of adult argot, propels Astrid into an exploit of independence that transports her from a cosseted place to a space of knowledge. This metamorphosis envelopes death and shields her from the less savoury truths of dying, and instead allows for a passage of wisdom that poises to be his departure’s greatest gift.
At the heart of this cross-sectional story of slice-of-life mortality, the prevailing theme of love is evident in every action and character. Astrid may be the most salient component of this thematic spread, but witness her grandfather, a dying man whose wish to please his granddaughter takes precedence over his own strength. Likewise, Astrid’s mother, whose love pervades beyond her own needs, is a character who has a great understanding of desire. As heartbreaking as it is for her, it is also her innate response to allow her daughter an opportunity for deliverance. Sharing his reprieve as a show of mutual affection, Astrid and her grandfather’s final act is an epitome of love in its greatest capacity.