Monday, September 28, 2020

"Our Time Machine": an artist writes and produces a puppet show to help his dad, with Alzeheimer's, stay in touch with his life

Beijingrailwaystation night


Our Time Machine” (2019, directed by S. Leo Chiang and Yang Sun on PBS POV Monday, September 28, 2020, only slightly condensed from 86 minutes), is indeed a layered story about creativity. Here is the best PBS link. It's in Mandarin Chinese with titles. 

In Beijing, artist and puppeteer Ma Liang (a.k.a. Maleonn) learns that his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He decides to write a puppet “screenplay” and then produce it reviewing his dad’s life through the intricate puppet show, with lots of detailed costumes and mechanical drives and wheels underneath.  He believes this will help his dad recovered his memory. The play will be called “Papa’s Time Machine”.

In his family, there is a controversy over whether he should continue producing “beauty” for the world, or just be a good son during the last year of dad’s life.

But then a son of his is born, and that changes the dynamics.

The film was followed by “Negative Space”, by Max Porter (short, 12 minutes, 2017), animated. A child watches his businessman father pack his grippe for travel and learns proper habits that way, until his dad passes away and is remembered in a funeral.

Picture: Beijing railway station, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

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