Tribeca 2024: Nicolas Panay’s ‘alarms’: a warning about the balance between personal and work life

Rating: 4 out of 5.

No job is easy. Whatever you do, it requires your full attention. But what if something bad happens due to lack of time, a busy schedule and the inability to think clearly under high demand and pressure at work? Who will be responsible for the consequences of actions taken by someone who was not in the right state of mind to make the right decisions?

“Alarms” reveals a deep fear for any individual, especially towards the end when you realize where the story is taking the audience. It follows a hard-working supervisor at a construction site named Pierre, who diligently oversees the completion of the project. The risks are high. He cannot hire a new employee due to lack of time for training, and those with experience do not have the energy to perform their responsibilities to the fullest. He is also noisy, causing discomfort to those around him. What can be done to please everyone, ensure employee safety, and keep the project on track?

Written and directed by Nicolas Panay, “Alarms” is an excellent short film that shows the importance of not losing sight of critical aspects. We see Pierre constantly stressed, consumed by work. Even when he returns home, he can’t focus on his young son. Work dominates his mind. But something drastic must happen for Pierre to receive a wake-up call. An incident occurs at work when an employee experiences a medical emergency. However, the biggest alarm is yet to come, and it’s alarming enough that we hope Pierre learns from it in a positive way.

The “alarms” serve as a compelling reminder of the great risks and pressures that many face in their professional lives. Nicolas Panay skillfully directs this short film, highlighting the dire consequences of neglecting essential responsibilities due to overwhelming stress. Through Pierre’s journey, we see the critical need for balance and the human cost of constant vigilance. This film is not just a narrative but a moving lesson about the importance of prioritizing well-being in the midst of professional demands.

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