11 October 2004  

Primer

:: Scanning the Leisure section of yesterday's NYTimes, I noticed an ad for a movie called Primer, written, starring, and directed by Shane Carruth. I visited the film's web site, discovering that it includes a review from the NYTimes, written by AO Scott. The film sounds compelling and interesting, and quite the mind bender - Scott describes the movie as "technically speaking, science fiction, but of an unusually rigorous and unassuming kind." Two amateur inventors create a machine in their garage, "a device that reduces the apparent mass of any object placed inside it by blocking gravitational pull", with far-reaching consequences. Scott compares the brain-teasing flow of the film to other movies like Pi and Memento. One reviewer has seen the film five times, with Scott advising that "part of the attraction is the tantalizing belief that if you see it enough, you will finally figure it all out." But he counters with the following:

I'm not sure of that. Having seen it twice from start to finish and gone back over the videotape in search of clues to its meaning, I wouldn't say that it entirely makes sense. At a certain point, Mr. Carruth's fondness for complexity and indirection crosses the line between ambiguity and opacity, but I hasten to add that my bafflement is colored by admiration. Mr. Carruth has the skill, the guile and the seriousness to turn a creaky philosophical gimmick into a dense and troubling moral puzzle."
Ambiguity: "doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention" (1 of 2 definitions listed); opacity: "obscurity of meaning" (1 of 7 definitions listed). I'm not sure that helps me. :-)

Also intriguing: the film was shot on 16mm and cost $7,000US to make. Unfortunately for us in Edmonton, I doubt we'll see a print of the movie before 2005 at the earliest. Until then, watch the trailer here.

Posted by Randy at October 11, 2004 11:05 PM | TrackBack
Comments

"Unfortunately for us in Edmonton, I doubt we'll see a print of the movie before 2005 at the earliest" Hey, living in Lethbridge, I'LL be lucky if I can find a copy on DVD I can buy on line five years from now...neat films just never come here.

Can seven thousand dollars be right, or can we assume that is a typo? I don't think you could buy 2 hours of 16m film stock for $7000.

Posted by: Robert Runte at October 14, 2004 03:03 PM

I spoke too soon. Primer is playing tomorrow night at the Edmonton International Film Festival. Granted, it is only one screening, but it will have played here in 2004 after all.

$7,000 is not a typo. The writer and director also played one of the two leading roles, and it was shot on 16mm film. But I know what you mean - $7,000 just doesn't register.

Posted by: randy at October 14, 2004 08:45 PM
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