“97%” a short film by Ben Brand and a Vimeo Staffpick in which we are given an insight on how love searching happens to be different with today’s technology and an almost obsessive thing we worry about today.
We are brought into the life of Bert in which he says no lines during the short film but we cling to Bert because he obviously has a love obsession on his mind and while we can assume he’s on a commute headed back home after work we can see he stops in those bland, and repetitive moments of his life, to look at other couples enjoy each other in their love on escalators and in the subway.
Bert is an average guy and is relatable to the audience because like many of us we wonder why we cannot find love and to make things easier for himself, or perhaps give him more hope in finding love, Bert has an app on his phone that later discovers while he’s seated n the subways that he has a 97% love match near him, thus explains the title of the film.
This alert signals Bert that a love match is nearby and sends him into a quiet search to find his love match at first on the subway all while sitting silently and trying to keep control of his actions while in commute. We can see we arere in Bert’s mind while he looks at different women in the subway cart comparing them to the description he is given on his app. Bert seems to be in desperation to find this woman who has a 97% match to him.
The app gives Bert a huge hope in finding love in which 10 minutes ago he had none. But as his match seems to grow in distance (because the app actually measures how far away this person is to you) Bert grows desperate in trying to find her and quickly. Bert knows he’s staring at strangers while he contemplates in his mind who is his match. He finds himself in awkward social scenarios including where he believes he finds the girl he’s looking for after a train transfer and realizes she was looking at the man behind him.
You may think that Bert would give up on his quest after this small embarrassment but he does not end his search because his app still shows his love is nearby. Right before he misconstrues the woman on the train for his love match, Bert had unknowingly left his train for her, jumped the subway turnstile and almost got himself hit by a car for that woman.
You can imagine Bert’s hurt when he realized that woman he chased was the wrong woman. Bert is so relatable in this moment because we can all remember a time when we simply thought someone was waving hello to us when indeed they were waving to the person behind us. An embarrassing moment, but a moment we all must live through and move on from.
Bert moves on from that woman, although a bit heartbroken, he finds that his app has lost internet connection. Bert could have called his search off at that moment but while he was disconnected from the internet he sits down and is faced with a beautiful woman that was clearly interested in him. Maybe Bert was close to speaking to her, maybe Bert would have introduced himself and had learned about this lady in front of him but Bert misses this opportunity because he delves back into his app as soon as the connection comes back.
Bert launches himself from his seat to continue his search for his love match and leaves that woman behind on the train. This is where Bert must make the choice to either step off the train to find his match and without care steps off the train. Bert is almost unaware of his actions, he may have gotten himself lost and has caused himself a great stress but Bert’s actions are a reflection of what we humans do today for love.
This isn’t a romantic short film in which Bert finds his love match but more of a reality check in which while we may think our love match can be found online we as a society may be missing the people that are right in front of us.
The film ends where Bert looks back at the train he left and sees the woman he sat in front of through the window. As the train pulls away his app alerts him stating that his love match is getting farther and farther away. Unknowingly, Bert was face to face with his love match and let her get away. Fortunately for Bert, he can quickly move on with his hurt because his app matches him once again.
This is where all sympathy for Bert goes out the window because he can so quickly forget his search for that woman on the train and can easily move on from that pain to look for next match.
97%” is Ben Brand’s second short film and it’s unbelievable the connection you make with Bert although he speaks no lines. It’s as if in this 7-minute film you cling to Bert more successfully than movies that give you an hour and a half to connect with their main characters. Bert Hana, who plays Bert is an actor from the Netherlands who has years of acting experience. Altogether the cast, screenplay, and composition, gives you a sense of hope for love and yet a reminder that what’s in front of you can be more important than what an app displays for you.