Video: Imagine if The Colonies from The Handmaid’s Tale were in outer space, and June’s idea of revenge involved some kind of magical angler fish. You’d have Colony, an Australian science fiction short film released by Dust about a woman struggling to keep herself and her sister alive — until things go too far.
Written and directed by Catherine Bonny, Colony centres around a group of women who are helping settle a new planet in the year 2131 — though they’re treated more like prisoners than colonists. It’s a disgusting place, ironically called Heaven, fertilised by the bodies of those who died before.
But Rhian (Emma Burnside) is determined to keep her gravely ill sister Seren (Alicia Hellingman) alive, even if it means making an uncomfortable arrangement with one of the male guards.
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse… and worse… and way way way worse. When Rhian seems at her lowest point, she comes across the planet’s original inhabitants, who imbibe her with the gift — or rather, curse — to seek vengeance against those who’ve wronged her and her family.
The ending, while kind of disappointingly quick, hints at what time, pain and horrible loss have turned this woman into. Just so you’re aware, consider this a content warning for themes of sexual violence in the video below:
In a statement, Bonny said her intention for the short film was to explore themes of colonialism, something that resonates in Australia and around the world:
Through Colony, I wanted to explore themes surrounding colonisation and carving out a life in a foreign place, through the lens of science-fiction. A story of sisters struggling to survive within an autocratic system lead to the question at the core of this film – do we create our own monsters?