Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"I Origins" by Mike Cahill: evidence of reincarnation through the eyes

Mike Cahill’s “I Origins” puts together several ideas and plot threads, just as his “Another Earth” (July 31, 2011) had.  And it is slow to get going, but the payoffs do come toward the end.

Michael Pitt (“Dreamers”, “Funny Games”) plays Ian Gray, an appealing microbiology grad student at NYU with a fetish for people’s eyes.  He works with assistant Karen (Brit Marling) trying to prove that eyes evolve naturally and weren’t magically “created” by God (so we play the creationism and intelligent design issue).  At a Halloween party in 2005, he meets Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisby),  and becomes passionately in love with her over some seeming psychic coincidences (started by the photography).  (As far as taking pictures of people’s eyes, he says, “that’s just something I do.”  Not everybody in a bar thinks that is OK.)  They plan to marry.  He brings her to the lab, where she meets Karen, and then some improbable accidents occur, leading to her tragic death in an apartment building elevator. 

Seven years later, Ian is an accomplished researcher and has married Karen (but why weren’t they lovers first?)  and had a little boy who might be autistic. They discover a database of iris and retinal scans that suggests that newborn babies match corresponding scans of people who have died recently  That takes them on a road trip, first to Idaho, and then (for Ian alone) to India,  as Ian looks for the little gril who might be the reincarnation of his lost lover.  Karen goes along with it.  I did wonder about a young girl’s willingness to accompany a young adult male stranger.  At the end, after seeming to fail a test, the little girl shows that she may indeed remember a fragment of Sofi’s former life.

Fox Searchlight offers a featurette, “A Window to the Soul”.

The official site is here. from Fox Searchlight.   

What should we make of the premise?  Suppose people started getting reincarnated quickly and we could find out who the new hosts are?  Suppose people really could remember much larger portions of their previous lives?  I could take this further, asking to suppose the idea you could wake up and experience some else’s body (a younger person), even if only temporarily?  Maybe micro black holes could provide the conduit. 

I saw this late Tuesday at Angelika Mosaic in Fairfax VA before a small gathering. 

The film could be compared to the mystery “Eyes of Laura Mars”, directed by Irvin Kershner, in 1978 (Columbia). 

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