Perhaps we’ve all had that lonely feeling recently, walking around eerily empty streets as if somehow the world had ended while we were asleep and now we’re all alone, but the hero of theatre actor Murantin’s feature debut My World is about to discover that he really is (almost) the last of his kind as he struggles to reconstruct his history, identity, and sense of self while encountering only two other women one young and one more his own age but each with strange and unclear motives.
A man wakes up naked in a park, almost rebirthed in a sense, and rises in confusion. Finding a grey tracksuit abandoned a little way away he wanders through a town he doesn’t recognise where all the stores are closed and there are no people nor any traffic on the streets. With no sign of life to be found he’s drawn towards a library but finds little in terms of illumination before leaving and noticing a second Earth hanging in the sky where the moon ought to be. Returning to the park he sleeps, but is woken in the morning by an apparently concerned high school girl who later offers him a place in her home where she is currently living alone as her siblings are away and her parents abroad. A kind gesture, but perhaps not very sensible given her circumstances. In any case, she tells the man not to go out, buying him some nicer clothes and cooking dinner every night.
With no memories of his own, the man remains confused. The high school girl appears to be living normally. She leaves every day to attend class which suggests there are other people around though he never sees any and the strangely old-fashioned TV in the living room only displays static. One day she informs him her boyfriend wants to come over so he’ll have to make himself scarce, later escorting him to the basement where she handcuffs him to a water pipe. Why would a regular high school girl own a pair of sparkly handcuffs with fairytale-esque little blue keys? Why is he not supposed to look into any of the other bedrooms? What secrets is this world hiding from him? The plot begins to thicken when he decides to break the rule and follow the high school girl to see where she goes, only to find himself at the library again where he encounters a middle-aged woman in what appears to be her negligee.
The man is in a sense imprisoned within the house, the handcuffs a literal extension of his mental constraint in a world which may be of his own making in wilful self-exile from a traumatic past. His strange dreams hint at another life, possibly on the other Earth, in which there are flashes of potential violence. Before long he begins encountering other versions of himself, fracturing under the weight of his internal confusion when directly confronted. The high school girl tells him he’s creating too much “disorder” and the only way to repair it is to go back to his own world, but the man doesn’t want to. Describing it as painful, he insists there’s no need to return if he can stay with the high school girl but in the end he will have to face himself and the traumatic past from which he seems to be in mental flight.
Dreamlike in its uncanniness, Murantin’s camera chases a man on the run from himself as he walks through a world already dead, a still place with no past or future. He does not know himself, and no one else does either or at least that’s what they claim. The world is quite literally his, a place which he has unwittingly created in refuge from his trauma but he is no god only a man imprisoning himself, a wilful exile from a world he couldn’t accept. A tale of guilt and loneliness, My World offers its hero a chance at redemption through facing his past, accepting his responsibility, and learning the truth about himself but nevertheless concludes that there may be only one path to freedom while atoning for his transgressions in a world suddenly more alive and once more in motion.
My World streamed as part of Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival 2021.
Trailer (English subtitles)