- "There was a man in the sun—a child of the stars—and he walked away."
- ―The Narrator
Darkness is the seventeenth short production by Wingless Films, and was initially intended as a prelude to the cancelled Sunrise series. The film is a visual story set in a post-apocalyptic world, narrated by Tom Menary, and was released on September 16, 2011.
- "It feels like we've been abandoned."
- ―The Narrator
There was a man in the sun, a child of the stars.
And he walked away.
Darkness has fallen. But there must always be a sunrise.
- "Sometimes there's lightning. Sometimes the world lights up for just a second, like the clouds have parted and light has come flooding down from the heavens. Just for a second."
- ―The Narrator
The film begins with a pure white screen, which slowly pulls back to reveal a white dwarf star surrounded by a starfield. A narrator tells the tale of a world without sun, where strikes of lightning are the only means of seeing the outside world. The planet is suffering under several natural disasters, and the people are praying for salvation.
The narrator speaks of his father, who departed the previous day, intending on reaching nuclear habitats established in America or Iceland. However, the son refuses to come along, believing them to be only stories. He then recalls another story he has heard; one in which there was a man in the sun, who has walked away and left the world in darkness. By this point, a human-like figure has appeared in the centre of the fading star, though it quickly disappears.
He goes on to describe the ghostly "grey faces" he sometimes sees outside; the people of the world, wandering blindly through the darkness. The narrator has decided to go outside, and reveals his monologue has been a message, recorded for anyone still capable of hearing it. The star fades out completely before he lights a match, which flares briefly in the darkness, and goes outside.
- Jim Elton
- Visual effects creator
- Tom Menary
- Music composer
The film was originally pitched as a post-apocalyptic setting in which the last source of light was a single match, kept by the narrator. It was decided to tie the story in to the proposed Sunrise series, and was expanded to include references to the death of the sun, and the story of the Star Child. However, with the series put on hold, the would-be prelude remains as a stand-alone film.
The figure of the Star Child was shot on greenscreen in Plymouth, played by Tom Menary, who also provided the voiceover, which was recorded in Bridgwater on August 21st. Jim Elton created the visual effects; a single-shot sequence showing the Star Child appearing in the star, which then fades to darkness. He also stood in for the narrator's character for the final shot, in which the match is lit.
- Main article: Darkness (soundtrack)
The music for Darkness was composed by Tom Menary. Comprised of a single instrumental cue playing for the duration of the film, the music is largely strings-based, and shifts between several themes as it progresses. As the project was intended as a prelude to Sunrise, the music featured was based on themes created for that series. When the narrator speaks about his father, "The Father's Theme" is heard, followed by the project's main theme as the "man in the sun" is mentioned. The end titles are also underscored by a variation of this theme.
Influences and referencesEdit
The story was influenced by Lord Byron's poem "Darkness"—explicitly referenced in dialogue with parallels to the prayers for light and burning homes as beacons—and the short story "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber.
The reference to "nuclear habitats in America and Iceland" was based on research suggesting that humans could survive in nuclear- or geothermal-powered habitats were the sun to go out. Iceland, already using geothermal energy to heat homes, would be a prime location for such habitats.
The story of the man in the sun was intended as a direct reference to Sunrise, and the loss of a father was an indirect reference to events in that narrative.