Wednesday, February 1

‘The infinite cycle’: challenging and animated science fiction on Netflix that shows that not everything is said in terms of time loops

‘The Infinite Loop’ is not designed to please anyone. In fact, a first viewing of his short offering (less than 80 minutes) will leave most of his viewers scratching their heads and wondering if you have seen the most challenging science fiction movie of recent times or a tease.

In any case, it is a relief that such devastatingly different proposals make room in the Netflix catalog among so many chewed-up genre series without enigmas. Because ‘The infinite cycle’ is not even recent. It was premiered in 2012, it took a brief tour of a few specialized festivals and fell into oblivion.

Its director and screenwriter, Zoltan Sostai, is a Hungarian animator and special effects technician in whose brief career the effects of the clone of ‘Vikings’ entitled ‘Northmen: The Vikings’ and those of the most acclaimed Hungarian production -this one- of recent times, the adorable ‘A fairy named Liza’. Sostai handles virtually all of the production on this tiny, enigmatic film in the company of Mark C. Phelan, who provides all of the cast’s voices.

Recurring scenarios and a spiral narrative end up defining a production that is closed in on itself and whose only external reference is ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, to which it alludes not only thematically, but also aesthetically: the designs of the astronauts’ suits and the lighting and design of some rooms are identical to some Kubrick classic sequence.

Around with the cycles

The story of ‘The Infinite Cycle’ starts throwing us a few questions: Jack is an astronaut who is being chased by a mist of unknown origin and by some sinister-looking humans.. His escape leads him to return again and again to the same scenarios: a rooftop, a deserted street, a strange nightclub, circular rooms… and to communicate with a lunar base where his companions are in a desperate situation.

And in between, long and disconcerting conversations about quantum mechanics, broken machines and parallel dimensions that they might (or might not) be this same reality running in a loop: the same actor playing all the characters is just one of the clues. ‘The infinite cycle’ does not provide obvious answers, although Sistai clearly has a very clear solution to his riddle. He just doesn’t want to make it easy for us.

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The digital animation rounds off the dark proposal with clone characters, dark settings and lysergic transitions through infinite corridors that devour themselves. There will be those who understand the masks, the half-hidden faces, the effects that distort the image and the abstract interludes as Sistai’s methods to hide his lack of means, but the truth is that intentions and format go hand in hand at all times thanks to the dark and questioning theme of the film.

Sometimes bordering on the most desperate horror movies, sometimes with notes reminiscent of the lore de ‘Half-Life’ o ‘La niebla’ de Stephen King, ‘The infinite cycle’ is perhaps an irregular proposal, but of course, also brave and unique. A machine gun of riddles that connect with a concept of science fiction that is more literary than cinematographic and that is, above all, refreshing and different. It only remains to add another enigma to those already proposed by the film: will it go as unnoticed on Netflix as it has been for seven years?