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Archive for July 9th, 2016

PRIMER 1

by Robert Hornak

“Meticulous, yes. Methodical, educated; they were these things… Like anyone, they varied. There were days of mistakes and laziness and in-fighting, and there were days, good days, when by anyone’s judgment they would have to be considered clever… They took from their surroundings what was needed and made of it something more.” These lines, which are in voiceover, are spoken by a version of one of our main characters, Aaron, in a voice mail to another version of Aaron, referring to a yet earlier version of Aaron and his friends. It seems to me, Aaron could be describing the activities of the characters, or he could be talking about the making of the movie itself. The two are parallel in more than one way, not the least of which is the time-shuffling of film production, wherein scenes are never shot in the order of the final film, and wherein it’s usually left to one person, the editor, to try and make sense of the jumble. In the spirit of the confusion created during that process, as well as in a time travel story, I re-read all of what follows and note the unmoored, herky-jerky quality of the ideas. Let it be my homage to the movie, when what it really is, is me grappling with a movie I don’t fully understand, and probably never will, but respect and enjoy immensely. I believe my first words upon viewing it ten years ago were: “I would sell all I have and follow this man as a disciple.” I’ve cooled somewhat since that heady day, but the love remains for this often maligned, often dismissed, but just as often overly-adulated little indie time travel experiment.

 

First let me say, time travel movies are a dime a dozen – or cheaper, depending on when you go back to. There’s been a ton of them over the decades, but it seems to me there’s been a tremendous uptick this century. Perhaps it’s the ubiquitous accessibility of movie-making equipment – the same people that would’ve fired up a trusty Underwood in the middle of the last century, today fire up a Red and Final Cut Pro and add their spin to the glut. Sirens of Titan becomes 41. But why so much time travel? Why does everybody, including me, have one or two or three of them that they can’t wait to impress the world with? At the risk of grandiosity, and/or stating the obvious, I can only think it’s some kind of market demand born from the cold tyranny of The Now. Nobody wants to be here… right now. I assume I’m pretty much like everybody, my head a clouded mix of Regret and Hope – that is, the Past and the Future, combining in a constantly shifting ratio. Regretting either the pain of mistakes made or – another kind of regret – wishing for the return of that which was better; meanwhile, hoping the future’s not as bad as I suspect it’ll be, or at least hoping that it remains as good as it is now. However you slice it, of the three – past, now, future – now is the most tangible, yet the most elusive. It’s just easier to want to escape the law that requires every moment we experience to simultaneously build toward a rarely-controllable future and lock into an unchangeable amber brick that’s as irresistible to gaze back upon as a blazing pillar of salt. And, for now, fiction is the only means we have to break that law. (more…)

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