11 minutes, UK, 2014
A foreign Reporter has been persuaded by the new administrator of a punishment complex to witness the execution of a prisoner. Justice is adminstered by a huge mechanical Instrument, which inscribes the broken law onto the offender’s body, before killing him. Designed and created by a former administrator, the Instrument is maintained and worshipped by his sole remaining adherent, the Supervisor. In the chamber of death, a bored Guard and stupefied Detainee wait for the process to begin.
Over time the number of executions has diminished, and despite the Supervisor’s care to keep the Instrument functional and clean, it has been neglected and fallen into disrepair. The Supervisor secretly fears the Reporter’s visit and covers this up with a frenzied attempt to extoll all the virtues of the Instrument. He knows the new administration is contemplating a ‘streamlining’ of the punishment procedure, and may be influenced by the Reporter’s account.
Once the Supervisor finishes preparing the Instrument, the Detainee is strapped into place, as the Reporter becomes progressively horrified by the Instrument and the whole procedure. Becoming aware of total failure despite his best efforts, the Supervisor’s world falls apart. Unable to bear the thought of his beloved machine being relegated by the new administration, he frees the Detainee then prepares himself as a sacrifice to the Instrument. The Reporter, afraid for herself, looks on in horror but cannot intervene.
As soon as its caretaker’s ‘final procedure’ is programmed into the machine, the Instrument starts to function of its own accord. Neither man nor machine is able to exist independently of the other, and the Supervisor is gruesomely dispatched as the Instrument simultaneously destroys itself.
Director(s): Kevin Boylan
Producer(s): Kevin Boylan