Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Origins

Fast Notes

These are some quick observations on what for me is one of the most exciting American films of the last few years, which I figure will be "rediscovered" around or shortly after 2020. It's Mike Cahill's follow-up to Another Earth (a really good movie, the last scene of which has profound implications), — it belongs to a techno-philosophical thread in recent American movies which counts among its proponent-adherents Cahill, Batmanglij, Carruth, and someone else I'm forgetting. In many ways (aside from Carruth) the auteur is co-writer/co-producer/star Brit Marling.

(1) Double-lives, doppelgängers, are a staple of Cahill's cinema to date. He cites Kieslowski's La double vie de Véronique as a major touchstone. I Origins was written as a "prequel" to an as-yet-unmade "core"-film called I. This sibling has not yet come to fruition, although my understanding is that Fox [Searchlight] have acquired the rights to that film alongside I Origins. Michael Pitt is himself here a doppelgänger for Brady Corbet. cf. Haneke's Funny Games redux — a terrible movie but which sports some of the most beautiful compositions and lighting (by way of Darius Khondji) so go figure.

(2) Sex-trafficking. An undercurrent of the film. When Michael Pitt's character, Ian Gray, takes up residence in the Indian hotel he encounters a sick-priest played by Tom Cruise's cousin, William Mapother, done up like Dano in There Will Be Blood. He tells Pitt he's in town for "sales" and that it's all in accordance with the big man up above. Later Pitt with Kashish ("Salomina") will avoid the hotel elevator when he sees that Mapother stands inside, and will take the staircase instead. One shot shows Pitt throwing a glance off-camera as though Mapother is present (or checking to see if he's present) when he brings Kashish inside his room.

(3) In a new world-of-the-movie literalized variation of screenwriting, intent begets reality, opening the door to a singular metaphysics. At the moment Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey ("Sofi") does her schtick in the stuck-elevator (which makes the first 30 minutes of the movie exasperating, but it's only a red-herring), Pitt snaps and proclaims her "a child". After the brilliant and only appropriate usage in a movie I can think of of a Radiohead track, "Motion Picture Soundtrack," the closer of Kid A (the greatest album "of a life"), Pitt will have adopted Kashish.

(4) More maybe soon


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