Man vs Machine | Short Films about Robots

Here we go again, Lockdown Level 4. My want for social interaction waning with every mandated isolation has led to an exponential reliance on technology. I find myself talking more affectionately to my Dyson with each passing day than I do to my own husband, but I’ll save that thread for my therapist over zoom later. However it got me thinking just how much technology has woven itself into the very fabric of humanity, is man, a machine? A reductive claim but have we become inextricably enmeshed with technology that we can no longer see ourselves as the apex of creation, that we’ve now replaced ourselves with AI – Ok, ok I may be getting a little carried away after a few too many wines late night googling rabbit holes but this has led me to discover some brilliant short films. These three short films explore a spectrum of relationships between man and machine and that maybe there’s more to man’s creation than just zeros and ones…

Brian & Charles – Jim Archer

Brian & Charles is a charming docucomedy short film about the friendship between man and robot. Although it revels in absurdity with the grotesque look of Charles the robot and Brian’s foray in the field of robotics, it’s grounded in reality through the very real human need for companionship.

This Time Away – Magali Barbé

The VFX in this alone warrants a watch but then include Timothy Spall (Petter Pettigrew from Harry Potter franchise) as a curmudgeon far removed from society who befriends a stray robot. This is a heartwarming short film that can be shared with the whole family.

Avarya – Gökalp Gönen

The incredible artistry on display in this short film coupled with the exploration of Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics creates a thought-provoking and visually sumptuous experience.


Want more shorts? Show Me Shorts has a huge collection of short films available freely to watch in our Screening Room. If you enjoyed these short films and can afford it consider making a donation to Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust.