PolySciFi Blog

Tuesday, May 03, 2005



Just wanted to heartily recommend Primer, which I saw for the first time this weekend. It's a no-budget film that took three years to go from being shot to being seen; it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. It's excellent--this despite having any number of technical glitches. For one thing, the filmmaker only did one take of everything, cause he couldn't afford to waste film (the 78 minutes of final film come from about 85 minutes of footage shot--they used everything). For another, he shot it on Super-16mm and blew it up to 35, and they screwed up the blow-up in at least one sequence, resulting in very, very grainy film. And as you'd imagine with the one-take-only limits, sometimes a line reading is flat. And the lighting: for the most part, they just used availble light, sometimes with good results, sometimes not.

But it's great, the best sci-fi film I've seen in a long time. I'm a sucker for "puzzle movies," e.g., things like Mulholland Dr. where you get limited clues to what you're seeing; this one is incredibly minimalist. But as in the best of these movies, all the information is there if you're looking for it. No real insights in this post, just give the movie a look. If nothing else, it shows that it is still possible to finance a film completely independently, shoot for nothing, and get good theatrical (Thinkfilm) and home video (New Line) distribution. If you're making an interesting movie, that is.


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