Shane Carruth, Primer
Just quickly then, a lucky batch of selections from the well-below-par, not so local video store we joined recently (where it always smells, the service is shite, the movie you want is never available but everything's for sale). Primer
is an amazing first film. A beacon of hope for lo-budget DIY filmmaking which is nonetheless challenging, professionally constructed cinema. Basically a team of young garage inventors make a time-shifting device and lose themselves in the paradoxes and cause-effect permutations the shifting incurs. Issues of trust and ego stretch over manifold dualities and little mind-warps; the confusion and miscomprehension of the characters feeding onto the audience. Carruth's commentary track is worth the price of rental alone, not so much to explain the diffuse obscurantism of the plot but to lay bare the simple efficiencies of shooting a movie with one camera, editing on a home computer, writing your own music, ensuring minimal dubs with good sound recording, the hundred minutiae of self-driven, self-funded and self-organised filmmaking etc. I learnt a lot. Also of note was the dense jargon of four tech-wonks talking over one another: capturing the spirit of post-uni research and innovation with an air of naivety and realism. Guys in shirts and cheap ties who don't really know what they're getting into (cutting up the microwave, do you really need that catalytic converter?), not quite perceiving the nature and implication of what they create, that is, philosophically unprepared for the moral imperatives or responsibilities active outside regular time and limitation.