“Creative Control” (2015) is a curious sci-fi high tech comedy, with some ideas close to my own experience. It is directed by Benjamin Dickinson, the young man (maybe a little under 30) who also stars as its protagonist, David. The film is written with Micah Bloomberg.
The subject matter of the film, shot mostly in black and white Cinemascope (the “Hud” effect) is avatars created for the viewer by “Augmented Reality” eyeglasses, and these creatures are presented in subdued flesh-toned technicolor. The ideas behind the film did occur in James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009), but the curious connection is to the virtual reality eyeglasses of Kathryn Bigelow’s ambitious thriller “Strange Days” (1995), set in the period leading up to Y2K.
The fantasies are presented with a lot of interesting classical music, mostly Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, but there is one sequence where the slow movement of the Schubert Piano Trio, a dominating part of the film.
There’s a critical conversation with the girl friend, over dinner, over ethics, which makes both of them seem like hypocrites. Yes, the company is dependent on a hard-to-get rare earth metal that is controlled by China, which is the kind of problem Donald Trump says he will handle for American business if elected. There is also some diffuse guilt that they can live well off the sweat of poorer parts of the world. That’s what drives the anger of the white working class that Donald Trump is appealing to. I wondered if the timing of the theatrical release was intended to coincide with the critical GOP primaries. The writers seem to want to make arguments about free trade issues several times in the film.
The company also promotes a product called “Phantelic”, which seems to be a kind of e-cigarette with aphrodisiac properties.
The idea that you could have a real experience with a computer avatar makes more sense in the world of dreams. Indeed, in my own dreams, it is possible to experience “what it would be like” to be intimate with specific persons. In my experience, I can’t really control who the person is, or exactly what the person “does” in the dream – so I don’t have quite complete “creative control” of the experience, but would I want it? You could imagine a screenplay where these persons learn of this connection to me through telepathy or remote viewing, leading to all kinds of conflicts in an alternate world. In fact, that idea (which the Monroe Institute espouses) gets mentioned by one of the supporting characters who decides to go to the Amazon to live off the grid for a while – but practice his psychic powers.
The official site is here (Magnolia, Amazon Studios, Ghost Robot, Greencard Pictures, and “Mathematic”). The picture claims that it is “about virtually everything.”
I saw the film at Landmark E Street in Washington DC, only two in the audience, late afternoon, after visiting cherry blossoms.
Pictures: Mine (DC, Brooklyn)