8.0/10
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4 user 1 critic
A man takes care of an oasis in the middle of a harsh, toxic land.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Howard Whalen ... The Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leah Rochelle ... Woman at phone booth
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A man takes care of an oasis in the middle of a harsh, toxic land.

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Short | Sci-Fi

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11 November 1970 (USA)  »

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$140,000 (estimated)
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Trivia

Universal Studios held the script for Ark for six weeks and then passed on it. One year later they released the film "Silent Running" starring Bruse Dern, which was essential the same story. See more »

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Powerful, effective, and disturbing
4 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

I recently remembered viewing this short film in a science class when I was in junior high, around 1980 or so, and I did a few searches on it. Unsurprisingly, I found very little, since it's very obscure (as is evidenced by the lack of votes and comments here).

And that's a shame, because "Ark" is an excellent film. Set in a near-future Earth where most species are extinct and humans must wear gas masks outdoors because the atmosphere is too polluted to breathe, one man (never named in the film) finds a pond with some small breath of life left in it, builds a greenhouse around it, and delicately but diligently tries to bring it back to life. For a film that's this short, I can't say much more about the plot without starting to get into spoilers, so I'll leave the plot outline at that.

The imagery and atmosphere of the film are very powerful and effective, but the film's relentlessness does make it difficult to watch because its vision, apart from the metaphorical "ark", is very dystopian. Everyone outside wears gas masks and drab clothing, making them appear more like drones than human beings. The sky is always overcast, and the world is colorless, lifeless, dirty, and bleak. The viewer gets a real feeling of actually being in a world that's been utterly ruined by man's short-sightedness. (The only relief from all of that is the scenes in the pond, with the alga and small fauna and the man gently tending to them -- a sharp contrast to the bleakness of the rest of the planet.) The overall impact on the viewer is pretty "heavy", but then, that's the director's whole point -- and that kind of highly effective emotional impact is one of the hallmarks of a very well-made film.

Very, very difficult to find, but if you can manage to, or if you hear of it playing anywhere, do see it. And let me know as well, since I'd like to see it again, too.

I'm pleased to be the first to be able to offer IMDb readers some feedback on this excellently-crafted short.


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