Jonás Cuarón, who co-wrote Gravity with his father Alfonso, made a companion short film that decodes one of the mysteries of the feature film while also building on that work. Now, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, you can watch the companion piece, Aningaaq, in full.
Aningaaq tells the story of the other side of the distress call Gravity heroine Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) makes when stranded in a Russian capsule. In the film she reaches a man speaking a foreign language, and hears sounds made by dogs and a baby. She's reminded of humanity just as she believes she's going to die. You can read much into Gravity's scene. Perhaps, you might think as I did, that she was hearing sounds of joy on Earth. Aningaaq reveals that she was talking with an Inuit man in Greenland, in a wasteland of snow nearly as vast as her wasteland of space. He, too, is struggling with questions of life and death as he wrestles with putting down a dog he loves.
Jonás told Kristopher Tapley that he drew the story from experiences in Greenland. "So I was traveling with this sled for like two weeks through the region in Greenland, and during that trip, I noticed a very beautiful relationship that the Inuits have with the dogs," he explained. "They're traveling very far away from their villages to the ice to go fishing and in a way the only companions they have are the dogs. It's almost a friendship but also about survival. They depend on these dogs to move around but also the truth is if one of these dogs gets injured or they start becoming too old to be able to make the trip, since it's such a lengthy trip, they have to sacrifice it. I happened to run into a fisherman who had to sacrifice his dog and it's really hard for them."
One of the wonders of Gravity, directed of course by Jonás' father, is how far away it stays from the matters Earth. Aningaaq somewhat ruins the mystery of its progenitor, but it also makes Stone's interaction with the man more poignant while also standing on its own as a lovely and heartbreaking slice of life.
The short also could, as Seth Abramovitch points out at THR, make Oscar history if it gets nominated alongside Gravity. For now, it's simply worth a watch.