Sometimes technology can be just as frightening as it is amazing. For one thing, it can raise all kinds of thorny legal and ethical questions, and if you really want to freak yourself out, try doing an image search sometime for “uncanny valley”. There’s a good reason why such questions have become a staple of science-fiction — just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should, but the temptation to go ahead regardless can be very hard to resist. And sometimes the technology does things without human intervention, as seems to be the case in Partitioned_Heart.
Rob (Travis Mitchell) is a father who’s lost his only child, Daniel (Malik Uhuru). When you’ve lost a loved one, often you’d give nearly anything for one last chance to sit and talk with that person. Rob has simply stumbled into that miraculous opportunity, as a mysterious program on his son’s computer has allowed him to talk to Daniel, now a literal ghost in the machine. But this miracle comes with a high price. When Daniel asks his father to do something Rob simply can’t face, will he be able to honor his son’s pleas?
A partition is a computer term for a way of dividing a hard drive into sections, which is something you might do if you want to be able to run two different operating systems on the same computer, for instance. Here it’s also a metaphor for the warring impulses in Rob as he’s faced with an unimaginable decision to make alone. As a short, the film inevitably asks more questions than it answers, but that only makes it more gripping and the anguish on both sides of the screen is simple and crushing. Mitchell and Uhuru are both utterly convincing as the equally pained father and son, and their performances pull the viewer in. Sometimes the most uniquely human dilemmas can spring from the most advanced technology.