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Breathing panicked at first, then slowing down to a more shallow depth; the cold is spreading throughout his body in spite of the warm temperature surrounding him. This was not what he thought it would feel like…not what it was supposed to be like. The grand gesture makes him more dependent on every fleeting tragic moment. There is no recourse left. Simultaneously he wishes to alter his decision and realizes that he cannot.

The film Oblivion presents suicide in a very personal and disturbing way. But then again, the subject matter is itself very disturbing. Many have wondered what could drive someone to take their own life and how they felt as it slipped away from them; Oblivion attempts to give its audience a first person perspective of one man’s reasons and journey in ending his existence. Reduced to one statement, Oblivion is the internal monologue of a lost man making the wrong choice; giving up.

Joshua E. Velazquez Torres appears as the main character, a man who has faced society’s judgement of his lifestyle and the difficulties that come with this. His desperation leads to malevolent actions. In his dreamlike state, somewhere between life and death, he wanders a forest and is confronted by his lover (Caleb, played by Jacob Fuentes) who is both tender and strict. The simplicity of the dialogue and the interaction between these two men presents the fragility of each man and his own means of dealing with a very complex situation. The undertone for the film seems to communicate that even by taking the ultimate act of control one may feel the ironic absence of the very thing one seeks.

Oblivion is most definitely a statement about the hardships of this type of amorous relationship. As with any great film, Oblivion plays on multiple levels. The easily accessible story is about the adversity of gay men in society and the decision to not face a life of scrutiny; however, the film is also about anyone who wonders what their life would be like if they simply gave up the path they had chosen and followed thus far. Director Rain Zheng remarks “Oblivion is more about coping with difficulties in life, being the offbeat outcast who's been trying to process life’s constant challenges. A person's mind can go quite dark. For me, Oblivion is a warning to myself that the worst thing that can happen is to have no tomorrow to hope for. It’s about giving up one’s sense of your true self and just settling for a life rather than striving for what is important to you, the things that make your life your own personal story.”

The circumstances in which the characters of this film find themselves are as prevalent today as they were ten, twenty, fifty years ago and further. The audience reaction at film festivals (Miami Independent Film Festival-2018, World Premiere Film Awards-2018, Austin Spotlight Film Festival-2017) and reception of the Platinum Award at the European Independent Film Award (2017) vets the stories resonation with society and the film community. This touching and tragic story is one which too many people can relate to. While Oblivion elicits painful tears, it also performs the benevolent task of depicting that the choice made by its central character only leads to a darker place for everyone in the situation. A film such as Oblivion is as important to watch and heed as it is heart-wrenching.

Author: Luigi Puglia 

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