A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.
Bernardo Britto’s animated short film Yearbook is a contemplative short about the eventual demise of planet Earth and what the planet will likely be remembered for by other galaxies. The short revolves around a pudgy, everyman who works a mundane desk job and is tasked with compiling the most significant events, people, and movements for a hard drive that will be preserved by other galaxies once a missile strikes Earth and the entire planet explodes. The hard drive can only fit so much, and the man must find a way to incorporate everything he possibly can onto said hard drive, even if that means shortchanging people like Orson Welles and lumping Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman in as one person. The man is deeply reclusive, not saying much to his clueless wife, who spends her days trying to perfect her recipe for catfish, and must keep Earth’s demise and his project a secret from everyone he knows.
Britto creates in a mere five minutes all the anxiety and loneliness that would likely span from creating a project like this. For starters, we look at our protagonist and how lonely he is, never saying much and constantly immersed in his work physically or mentally. The exhaustion takes a toll on him and he can’t bring himself to focus on much else, but then again, how could he when he knows something so catastrophic and is obligated not to tell another soul? Secondly, there’s the element of singling out and emphasizing parts of human history that make you question what you’d include on such a hard drive if you were given this insurmountable task.
Overtime, the man begins to think about his life, his wife, his own personal experiences, his first love, the girls he has kissed, the classes he has took, the memories he has made, and so on, and questions if his and the memories of numerous others are significant enough to make the hard drive? Is it really fair that such memories be floating invisibly around a radioactive wasteland after Earth’s imminent demise? Yearbook is a short to ponder long after the credits roll, and its simple yet beautiful animation is one of the many things to draw you into a story so depressing but so thought-provoking on human and historical levels.
Director: Bernardo Britto