Raul and his young daughter Sol lay side by side in the darkness, working together on an imaginary space mission to reunite with her mother.
All around them is a cramped but lovingly crafted makeshift space station, where the pair navigate space. But as they continue to play, Raul coughs and coughs, clearly dying. Despite his illness, he soldiers on, doing his best to conceal his dire condition from his daughter as they continue on their mission — until the truth of his situation is revealed.
Writer-director Gabriel Savodivker’s short sci-fi family drama has a loving, fanciful premise, focusing on a warm, affectionate relationship between a father and his child. Willing to enter into her imaginative world, he at first seems like an indulgent parent, following her leads into a flight of fancy.
But as the story progresses, it becomes clear that all is not well with Raul, and the glimmer of tragedy darkens the storytelling. Though he does his best to keep his daughter protected from his dying, the audience is privy to this fact, making his efforts all the more touching and even heroic.
Perceptive writing and strong acting from young performer Nayeli Alarcon and actor Paulo Quevedo establish a strong, loving bond between parent and child, with a clear warmth and affection. Quevedo especially plays the difficult tension of a parent struggling to keep his daughter feeling safe, happy and loved while knowing he will have to say goodbye to her soon.
The film’s visual style remains firmly with the parent-child pair for most of the film, keeping within the enclosed space filled with lights and playthings. For the most part, the action is shot as close-ups, which gives us an intimacy with this small family, though camera pans, brisk editing and angle changes keep the short visually dynamic. The sound, too, establishes the imaginative world of Sol and her father, using camera and sound effects to create their own charmingly lo-fi version of a science fiction film.
“To Infinity” visually opens up, though, when the father must finally say goodbye to his daughter. As the light floods in and the shots widen to reveal the larger surroundings, we finally see the nature of their mission. The revelation is heart-wrenching, showing just what a parent will do to ensure their child has a better life — and making it clear that parental love knows no language, boundaries or barriers.