Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Embers(2015) Oxford Film Festival 2016

The apocalypse has come and gone, the trouble is that most people don't remember it.

After some sort of neurological catastrophe most people's short term memory is gone.  The result is that people replay their lives over and over again. A young boy runs about in the ruins, a scientist tries to piece together his notes and what he knows,  and a pair of lovers wake up every morning not sure who the other is. Meanwhile a girl lives in a bunker locked away with her father, both of which still have their memories.

Thought provoking science fiction film is one of the hidden treasures of the Oxford Film Festival. Why isn't this film getting more notice? Why hasn't this film gone on to more people's radar?

This is a kick in the ass film that will get you talking and thinking and feeling. Its the sort of film  that you'll want to see a second time right after the first because you'll want to reconnect with the characters and with the ideas floating around. I want to see it again simply because I want to know how knowing the film's arc will affect my feelings at the start.

For me this is a great examination of isolation and being an outsider.Not having a memory means always trying to fit into a world that doesn't wholly make sense. How to we make the world make sense and find our place in it and what if we can't?

We also are faced with the intriguing question of what is love and destiny. Watching the semi-doomed romance play out over and over again forces one to ponder if we are indeed fated for some one or is it pure chance.

I haven't worked it all out yet and I won't until I see this a couple more times.

While I am in awe of this film and it's stunning reclamation of science fiction as a genre of ideas as opposed to space ships, ray guns and aliens, the film has a couple of problems, one minor, one a tad more serious. The least of the problems comes in a line about Miranda and her father being locked away for over nine years. That hardly seems possible owning to the state of the world outside. While I was fine with things being in ruins for an unspecified period of time, the inclusion of a date. All of the talk of time doesn't really work, but as I said it's incredibly minor.

The other problem is that the fragmentary nature of the narrative, the film is less one story than five or so inter related stories is kind of too much for things to feel completely smooth. Yes, the stories work, but the fact that they aren't one story makes things a bit bumpy.

Of course I shouldn't be complaining, especially when you have a a film that is otherwise a wonder of story telling and mind expansion. It is a film that quibbles or not is a masterpiece of genre and one of the best films you'll see all year.

One of my early favorites of 2016.

For ticket and more information go here

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