Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Obselidia": A road trip into a simpler world of forgotten things, and a warning


Here is a little film where you need to introduce the tagline first.  “If the world is going to end tomorrow how will you live today?”  The film is “Obselidia”, by Diane Bell, and apparently a hit at Sundance in 2011. 
  
George (Australian Michael Piccirilli),  works in a public library and, typing by hand, working on an “encyclopedia of obsolete things”, which will force him to learn to become a huckster.  He works on a typewriter by hand (in a manner like Barton Fink), and sympathizes with people who can’t afford or don’t know how to use computers.   I actually remember the visit of an encyclopedia salesman to our home around 1951 when my parents bought me a World Book!  
  
George has discovered the writings of Lewis (Frank Taylor Hoyt), who predicts that global warming will make most of the world a desert even by 2020.  He meets an equally lonely movie projectionist Sophie (Gaynor Howe), and goes on a comic road trip to meet the guy in Death Valley.
  
George grows a bit.  He learns to drive.  He learns what it might be like to look after someone in an emergency.  The couple wanders a bit, going to an old opera performance, and then camps on the scientist’s “ranch”, which is filled with more knickknacks and “obselidia”.  They sleep together in a tent, platonically.
The couple has a conversation about having children.  George says he could have kids only if men could bear babies (“Children of Men” perhaps), but that means he is alone, not that he is gay.
  
I recently visited a museum in Frostburg, MD with a lot of “obsolete things”.  I recall what my own life was like, growing up in the 50s, in a suburban world controlled by my parents – yet it was a rich world, even without freedom as I know it today or even my own money.  I placed a lot of value on my classical record collection – with now obsolete technology (although many people stand by vinyl today), some composing by hand, and performing piano locally, sometimes my own music.  I had a taste of a little bit of celebrity but was competitive enough, given the times, to sustain it.

The DVD comes from Humble Films, and starts playing immediately, with no menu or individual scene access.  Technically the film looks good (some of the photography reminds me of “Zabriskie Point” [Nov. 19, 2011]) , but I wish more care were given to the DVD usability.    
  
The official site is here


The film can be rented on YouTube for $2.99.  I believe that it was available for Instant play for a while on Netflix but now the only other way to see it is to buy the DVD: it is not available for rent.  

For humor, check my main blog Feb. 23, 2013 for a posting about free content and the "library".  

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