Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Note the wonderful camera perspectives in Primer, as well as the shapes in scenes, and the views through windows. This was a tribute to Shane's favorite, Stanley Kubrick. Note how similar the music is to "Solaris." There is so much anticipation and excitement in Abe,"It’s stable!" and his wonderment in "You’re talking about building a bigger one." The idea is born, unstoppable.

Having received the phone call; Abe knows he has the ability to create the time machine. Even though it may take weeks or months to finally realize his dream, he will not give up. Even if he has to pretend to do so, he will keep working secretly on his own. There may be days when Abe(2) cuts a wire to disable the box, leaving our hopeful Abe sitting in his box for six hours and exiting at 9:00 pm instead of 9:00 am. Time travel has to exist. If it didn’t, then there wouldn’t be all of this protein build-up on the Weeble.

What was the defining moment in Shane’s creation? Was it the bench scene or when Aaron and Abe watch Abe vanish? "Who was that, Abe?" How did Carruth reverse-engineer such a perfect moment in film? The genius of this film is how Carruth produced a film that encourages repeated viewings. We see different perspectives with each viewing. Many will say that Aaron sitting on the park bench was really Aaron(2) after their first viewing. Then they will say it is Aaron(3) after their second viewing. Later, you will start to see that Primer is flexible. It could be any version of Aaron. Aaron(1) listening to the game, Aaron(2) imitating Aaron(1), Aaron(2) recording the conversation, or Aaron(3) repeating the scene by listening to recordings.

We would, or course, want to know "How". What does it take to create this great enigma and then have the fortitude and strength to say nothing? How many times did Shane have to cycle through the same conversations, with interviewers asking the same questions over and over? Did he wrestle with the idea of telling us? Shane has said by his actions: ‘My film is the only proof that you will have of any of this. I might have written a detailed explanation but my perspective is not what it used to be. Maybe you had the presence of mind to record this. That’s your prerogative. You will not be contacted by me again. And if you look, you will not find me.’

Photo courtesy of Andrew Lipson. See his website to see how he constructed his work above.