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Short Film Review: AI Love You (2023) by Raita Yabushita

“Numbers don’t lie”

The recent fast diffusion of Artificial Intelligence functions in many aspects of our life has unlocked several potential benefits. However, it has also generated a series of concerns and fears of replacing very human characteristics, especially in creative fields such as art and poetry and in other personal and intimate aspects of life such as love and relationships. The 7-minute short film “” is a playful and yet acute reflection about this very contemporary debate.

AI Love You is screening at Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia

In a very near future, a young couple is about to have lunch with the parents of the woman. They have been dating for a while, about 5 years, but this lunch yields a special significance as the man () is about to ask permission of his partner's parents to marry her; consequently, they are very nervous, especially the man, of course. During lunch, as the father orders Siri to bring more beer at the table, we immediately guess the parents are rather relaxed and accustomed to technology and when the crucial moment comes, they seem to be happy and well-disposed at the idea of the impending wedding.

However, they had given for granted that the young couple had met through an app and that they had been checking their compatibility on AI devices, and they quickly become disappointed discovering they had decided instead to go with the flow, rather than trying to let an AI decide for them. All this is unthinkable for the in-laws who have a firm trust on the efficiency of Artificial Intelligence that, in their opinion, can reliably predict the outcome of a marriage and avoid any waste of time or money. They boast their own compatibility score is 90% (91, actually, as the mother keeps pointing out!) but this is not enough to convince the daughter and the discussion degenerates into a proper brawl.

Through a cleverly composed script, “AI Love You” manages to ridicule the anxieties and doubts eternally connected to life choices, with all their pros and cons, that now are so relying on mere mathematical calculations. In order to do so “AI Love You” ironically reverts the roles of the parents/kids dynamic and presents an atypical young couple, looking more traditional and conservative than their in-laws on technology matters. In fact, the whole film relies on the juxtaposition of contrasting elements to effectively create a comedic outcome.

The cinematography plays a big part in this manipulation. The beautiful black and white photography with soft greys and extremely detailed, the 4:3 aspect ratio (the default aspect ratio in 35mm celluloid film) the conventional setting with the chabudai low dining table and zabuton matts and even the way the young ones are dressed, are a canny nod to classic Japanese cinema of the past and to the traditional family dramas. In particular, the low camera angles, the static camera and precise composition – other than being a loving homage to – also enhance the contrast with what is actually going on between the characters and the futuristic nature of the debate.

The result is a funny vignette that makes you ponder whether AI will ever be able to account for the complexities of human emotions and compatibility. A very enjoyable and thought-provoking short film.

About the author

Adriana Rosati

On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"

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