Sogni Culinari, inspired by Pedro Mercado’s poem Sueños Culinarios, embodies everything I love about unexpected–and uninvited–internet media. It’s short, with a total run of only three minutes and seven seconds, a do-able amount of time to dedicate to a distraction. It’s narrated by a man with an accent so sumptuous that I’d like to hire him to record my voicemail inbox message. Bonus points are also awarded for such brief and unexpected nudity it necessitated a rewind to make sure I hadn’t imagined it.
We are seemingly surrounded by ephemeral media, and yet Sogni Culinari is somehow different. It is a brief, oddly poignant, story about a man dreaming he is a plate of pasta consumed by a woman, only to be spit out because she doesn’t like onion, the ingredient meant to signify his heart. Pretty deep for a film you can watch in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.
As a teenager and young adult I enjoyed Cartoon Network’s evening programming, Adult Swim. It had bizarre, poorly edited, and inexplicably directed 15-minute blocks of animation, Claymation, and live action that completely owned my heart and mind. Sogni Culinari brings me right back to those days of sitting on my friend’s bed in his basement bedroom, watching Sealab 2021 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Unexpectedly, Sogni delivered to me something I didn’t realize I had been missing.
It’s also a beautiful reminder that it’s possible to have a complete narrative take place in a very short amount of time. Peter Jackson needed around nine hours to tell the story of The Hobbit, a pretty straightforward fantasy romp that could easily have been done in a third of that time. The production company that made Sogni Culinari, AWA Producciones, needed three minutes in which to effectively relate a complete tale. Sogni, currently playing on Vimeo for the low, low price of zero dollars and zero cents, is a considerably better deal than shelling out for three full-price movie tickets.
Ultimately, I’m beginning to realize that my media needs less bang to make me happy. Things could stand to be a little less epic, just as they could stand to be a little bit weirder. It might not make perfect sense, but I can’t help but think of what Hunter S. Thompson said in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: “Too weird to live, too rare to die.”