Archive for theory of time

Looper

More than any film in recent memory, Rian Johnson’s future-noir time-travel film, Looper, has stuck with me long after its final credits rolled, in part because of its dramatic final sequence, one that genuinely shocked me (and which I’ll only discuss in detail below the fold to avoid spoiling it for others). But as Roger Ebert notes, the final scene displays a scriptwriting ingenuity that shows that Johnson has thought carefully and creatively not only about the paradoxes and logical problems of time travel but also about our psychological fascinations with it, about the desires and regrets that come into play when we entertain the possibility of confronting an older–or younger–version of ourselves. Add on Johnson’s rich appreciation of film history and genres and the movie’s subtle political sensibilities, and the result is a fascinating and compelling film that I plan to revisit soon.

Johnson has devised a relatively original time-travel premise: in the year 2044, young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a “looper,” a hired gun paid by a futuristic organized crime syndicate to murder people sent back in time from the year 2074 and to dispose of the bodies. Strapped to the back of all of the victims is the payment for their services: a set of silver bars (Judas’s 40 pieces of silver come to mind) that are, in turn, converted back into cash by Abe (Jeff Daniels) who has traveled from the future to direct his team of loopers. Eventually, when a looper shoots a victim and discovers that he has gold strapped to his back, he realizes that he has shot the older version of himself and that his contract as a looper has been completed. The victims typically arrive wearing handcuffs, hoods and in some cases orange vests, which as the Film Doctor points out, causes the victims to resemble detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.  These discoveries lead many of the loopers to experience varying degrees of dread and shock as they discover that they have essentially witnessed their own (future) death. The twist in young Joe’s case is that when old Joe (Bruce Willis) arrives, he isn’t wearing the hood and young Joe recognizes himself, hesitates, and eventually is unable to pull the trigger, allowing him to confront the older man he becomes.

This drama is set against a futuristic world that is quite obviously commenting on our own. Like many futuristic noir films (Blade Runner, Strange Days), the problems of the future can be seen as having roots in the present. Cities are industrial wastelands in which the young a wealthy loopers luxuriate in the excesses of their wealth, partying at a strip club and driving expensive cars while others are left to dystopian city streets or to survive off the land like Sarah and her son. It’s as if we are hurtling back into a world in which basic survival appears to be our only option At the same time, the film seems to revel in its cinematic allusions–cream swirling into a cup of coffee recalls Godard; a beleaguered and battered Bruce Willis evokes his performance in Twelve Monkeys, another film that reminds us that time travel–and the possible confrontation with our past selves–would likely be the source of profound trauma; and of course, North by Northwest, with its magnificent, if somewhat wilted and dying cornfields. But there’s also a heavy does of the western, especially The Searchers. These references and the overall world of the film help to set up that Johnson has more on his mind than action formula. Instead we get a film that engages with some pretty profound ideas through the psychology of the time-travel confrontation [note: spoilers may follow].

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Engaging the Post-Cinematic

I’ve been mulling over Steven Shaviro’s fascinating blog post, in which he seeks to define the concept of the “post-cinematic.” The post serves as a response to a conversation between Steven, Therese Grisham, Julia Leyda, and Nicholas Rombes about the first two Paranormal Activity films, and their exchange will be published in the online film journal, La Furia Umana. But given its widespread implications in offering a map (however tentative) of our current media moment, it has truly challenged me to think more carefully about my own attempts to work through what is happening to the concept of cinema, much less the practical changes to the movie industry in a time of rapid media change.

Steven starts by asking what happens when cinema is displaced by digital and computer-based media as a “cultural dominant” (to use Frederic Jameson’s term). Steven is careful to complicate the idea that cinema has been surpassed by digital media, but as he notes cinema’s dominance has faded, even while mass audiences continue attend Hollywood movies in theaters or watch them on a variety of smaller screens, whether a big-screen TV set, a computer, or even a cell phone. He goes on to note that this declining dominance functions economically–TV is watched by more people than cinema–and arguably in terms of prestige, as TV shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, and more recently Mad Men and (maybe) Breaking Bad have begun to receive acclaim normally reserved for films. I’ve used the term “cinema” rather loosely here to refer to the institutions of movie production, under the assumption that “film,” especially in the material sense of celluloid passing in front of a lens, no longer describes most of the movies we see, either at the level of production or at the level of projection, a shift that has only been reinforced by the enforced popularization of 3D. But the more crucial point here is that movies appear to no longer have their dominant role within media culture, even if some movies, such as Avatar, are capable of attracting enormous levels of attention.

But I’m most interested in thinking about Steven’s arguments about the changing place of movies and television “in the wake of a whole series of electronic, and later digital, innovations,” starting with tools that are now taken for granted (or even apparently obsolete) such as VCRs, remote controls, and more recently, DVD players, iPads, and even distribution platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. As Steven notes, movies and TV shows are now (apparently, at least) available in a wider range of platforms and contexts than ever before, although this distribution process remains uneven and often quite perplexing, especially outside the the United States. I’m told, for example, that renting a video from a Blockbuster in Italy costs approximately ten euros. And certainly Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox have only recently begun to move beyond U.S. borders, complicating any claims to media ubiquity (unless, of course, you go to pirate websites). So, one of the questions that has come up for me as I write is how to engage with this mythology of digital plenitude, especially when issues of digital rights management and geo-blocking arise.

Steven’s comments also helped to frame some of my recent reflections on the implications of digital production, delivery, and exhibition for social, economic, and political developments. As he points out, digital delivery can be linked to the processes of “flexible accumulation” (David Harvey’s term), while also making media labor more precarious, and enforcing more intrusive forms of surveillance (think of the elaborate terms of service agreements that many of us sign when joining social networks). In my own work, Steven’s discussion of the “precarization” of media labor seems especially acute in the independent film sector. No matter what, as Steven points out, our experience of movies changes considerably, as the cinema increasingly becomes available to us at home, on our computers, or even on our phones.

In my own work, I’ve been thinking about this in the space-time vocabulary cited by Steven (he mentions the work of David Harvey and Manuel Castells, in particular), specifically, for me, the concept of mobility. Texts, screens, and people now appear to be increasingly mobile. We are always “on-the-go” to use a phrase common to contemporary advertising discourse. We can watch anywhere; we can start a movie on one device and finish it on another; we can also gain temporal flexibility, watching a TV show on our own schedule. There are a number of factors impinging on this mobility: geoblocking, digital rights issues, some networks limiting access to their shows on Hulu until a week after they originally aired.

On a related note, media are more personalized, with all of the resulting implications. With all of the personalized screens in our household, my wife, stepchildren, and our exchange student could all theoretically watch something different while ostensibly being together. This combination of personalized mobility is often portrayed in terms of the specter of the iPad-watching commuters on the subway, alone together, but this fragmentation often takes place within the home, and in some cases feeds into more effective forms of target marketing. Personalized Netflix queues, for example, might make it easier to sell to the different tastes of multiple family members within the same household. To be sure, this personalized media mobility is often depicted as empowering (Charles Acland has a wonderful essay about this in The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry), although in reality, it is far more complicated than that.

There is, of course, a massive bibliography of boks and essays that have sought to make sense of this new mode of media consumption, many of which have tried to come up with terms that unite the combined experiences encompassed by the idea of the user, viewer, spectator, consumer, something I’ve been struggling with in the current draft of my book. In short, we need a better vocabulary for thinking about the idea of media mobility, one that accounts for this combination of textual, platform, and personal mobility and that acknowledges the range of viewing practices that encompass film and television culture today. We need to think about this not just in terms of the possibilities for interactivity and movement but also in terms of surveillance and marketing. Texts and screens have always been mobile, but our current moment offers an intensification of this process, and it is well worth engaging with the discourses of personalized mobility.

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Sunday Links

More film and media stories I’ve been following this weekend:

  • Time Out London has an article discussing the transition to digital projection and its implications for projectionists. It’s a pretty solid piece, and although it discusses the nostalgia for film, it also notes that the financial incentives for digital projection likely mean that the traditional projectionist is an endangered species.
  • Flow TV has a new issue out, and Randall Livingstone’s article on the “Get a Mac” ads, featuring John Hodgeman and Justin Long as PC and Mac, respectively, is well worth a read. One of Livingstone’s key points is that the laid back everyman, Mac, is presented as easily accessible: “The myth employed in these ads tells us it is easy and straightforward to be this person—to become Mac; it’s a myth that supports the dominant ‘classless-society’ thesis and hides the real societal hurdles that such a personal movement would have to navigate. Livingstone’s article also explores how the rhetoric of the Mac/PC campaign permeated other advertising campaigns.
  • Dawn Hudson has been selected to be the new CEO of the MPAA. David Poland offers one of the most thorough analyses of the transition.
  • Jason Sperb, while acknowledging his appreciation for the original Tron, explores some of the reasons Disney decided to relaunch Tron as a franchise now and successfully grounds that in Disney’s longer history of marketing nostalgia, exploiting technological innovation, and producing transmedia properties. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about Tron for a project I’m doing, and Sperb’s comments offer a nice overview of the logic behind Tron: Legacy.
  • The National Association of Theater Owners cites several more articles that criticize the studios’ decision to release movie on video-on-demand after a 60-day theatrical window. The most prominent comes from Avatar director James Cameron, who describes his opposition to VOD as “enlightened self-interest.” The AMC Theater Chain has also released a statement against premium VOD.
  • Thompson on Hollywood has an interview with Barbara Kopple, who is promoting her latest film, Gun Fight, which is about the ongoing debates over gun regulation. I will be seeing Kopple’s film at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, so I’ll have more to say later, but for now, I wanted to mention that I recently taught Harlan County., U.S.A., her 1976 documentary about a coal mine strike, and my students and I were blown away by the film’s immediacy and power.
  • Finally, in maybe my favorite post of the day, Richard Brody reports that the Chinese government has banned time travel films because they “disrespect history.” Apparently the genre is currently quite popular in China, but the concern is that time travel is the source of simple “culture shock” amusement and that “the producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore.” Maybe it’s time to dust off some of my research on time travel movies, after all.

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Source Code

When I was in graduate schol, I did my dissertation on films about time travel, alternate realities, and other time-bending narratives, a project that grew out of a seminar paper on Twelve Monkeys and Strange Days. The project ended up not working quite as well as I would have liked, as I got lost in my attempts to classify films according to the direction of time travel. But I found myself thinking about that project last night while watching Duncan Jones’ Source Code (IMDB), a follow-up to his trippy debut film, Moon. In particular, I reflected on the degree to which the film’s plot device has been naturalized to the point that audiences need little explanation to grasp what is happening, and although I found the film to be somewhat flawed, it functions well enough as a psychological thriller that engages with questions of fate, destiny, and free will.

Source Code depicts the experiences of Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), a wounded Afghanistan War veteran who is sent back into the body of a passenger on a train bound for Chicago that is about to be destroyed in a terrorist attack. Stevens wakes up in the body of a high school teacher named Sean just eight minutes before the explosives are set to go off, killing everyone on board and must figure out the person who planted the bomb to prevent a later terrorist attack from happening. We are given a typical pseudoscientific explanation from the film’s mad scientist, Dr. Rutledge (a cheerfully excessive Jeffrey Wright). As Roger Ebert points out, the scientific implausibilities don’t really matter, because for the most part, it’s clear that the explanation serves a different purpose: we are given a set of narrative rules–Colton has eight minutes to solve the problem, in this case finding the bomber–and then watch as Colton attempts to complete the task he has been assigned.

As a result, Source Code seems to be the latest example of a series of films that follow what Alex Galloway, in Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture,  has described as the “algorithmic form” of many contemporary narratives.* Although Galloway refers primarily to what he calls “films of epistemological reversal,” such as Fight Club or The Matrix, in which our existing understanding of how the world works is undermined, Colton’s quest in Source Code isn’t significantly different than the quest of completing a level of a video game, to the point that Colton, almost immediately, begins to identify specific patterns of repeated activity: a spilled soda, a conversation with the beautiful girl across the aisle. Even the logic of the behavior of the train’s passengers is constrained by how thy are already programmed. Given that the explosion “has already happened,” the train passengers are ostensibly dead, and therefore, Colton’s interactions with them don’t really matter. Much like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, Colton begins to see the train as a system, one that can be manipulated by a skillful “player” or user. The film’s paranoid depiction of time and fate–and their relationship to crime prevention–also has affinities with movies such as Minority Report and Twelve Monkeys.

And this is where I think Source Code ultimately “cheats,” to use a gaming term [spoilers follow]. As we learn early in the film, Colton is being sent back in time by a mysterious military organization, one that Colton is able to trace back to a base in Nevada. He receives instructions from Dr. Rutledge and a more sympathetic assistant, Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who communicates to him through a computer screen. Colton is told that he is physically dead other than some mild brain activity, but during his visits to the past, he falls in love with a passenger, Christina (Michelle Monaghan as the pretty girl), and desperately hopes to keep her alive, even though he is repeatedly told that the attack has already happened. In one version of Colton’s “game,” he pulls Christina from the train before it explodes, believing he has rescued her, but that reality doesn’t really exist, so he is pulled back to begin the game anew. However, those who have seen the film will know that the narrative resolution “cheats” this logic of time or narrative rule. It’s a typical cheat of time-loop narratives, however: why does the time loop stop once the crime has been solved? Perhaps more telling, Colton is able to prevent the terrorist from ever committing a crime in the first place, which means that the military agency that sends him wouldn’t have any need to send him back, right? Although, I suppose it is entirely possible that the final sequence (when he does prevent the accident from happening) is entirely imagined.

These logical implausibilities don’t undermine the film completely. As Aaron Hillis observes, Colton’s compassion for the train’s passengers is seductive. Even if we are told (somewhat misleadingly) that the attempts to rescue the passenger are doomed, Colton’s “loyalty” make him a likable protagonist (a sense of intimacy that Manhola Dargis also recognizes in her NYT review). At the same time, it’s a film that succeeds in synthesizing a wide range of cinematic, video game, and narrative texts, one that recognizes the ways in which audiences engage with and accept the place of algorithms within cinematic narratives.

Update with Spoilage: One other point worth considering, raised in the comments of this Hollywood Elsewhere post, is that the film allows Colton to essentially take over the identity of Sean Fentress, the mild-mannered teacher/train passenger, whose body Colton inhabits when he travels back in time into the train. Thus, as the film ends and Colton continues to live in Fentress’s body, starting a new life with Christina, Fentress’s entire life history is effaced. Des he have a family? Friends? What about his students? The film can only do this, of course, by making Fentress basically a cypher with little actually personality.

* Another good reference here is Kristen Daly’s recent Cinema Journal article, “Cinema 3.0: The Interactive Image.”

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Time Lapse

When I first started writing about film, my research focused on cinematic representations of time. This research centered on various forms of time travel films (broadly defined) and rested on some of Walter Benjamin’s theories about how film, with its inexorable flow of film stills through a projector, echoed the rhythms of industrial capitalism, as we might see in features such as the assembly line or the railroad.  I was intrigued by ideas about how time travel films engaged with the linear flow of time, but underlying that research was an interest in how films depict the passage of time or our engagement with time. That research faded as I became more interested in the political economy of film distribution, but that original research interest, which led to a couple of publications on Dark City and Sans Soleil, sometimes re-emerges in unexpected ways.

With that in mind, I am incredibly fascinated by this BBC report about Christian Marclay’s The Clock, a fascinating film installation, which plays non-stop for 24 hours a day showing clips from movies in which that particular clock time is depicted on screen.  Thus, if it is 11:19 AM, as it is while I compose this entry, the film shows a scene from a movie in which a clock or watch flashes that particular time on screen. As the BBC reporter points out, the film makes the viewer incredibly conscious of time, well after they walk out of a (presumably partial) screening. On another level, this seems like the kind of project that becomes much more viable in an age of compilation videos on YouTube, in which massive amounts of movie content remains available in a giant cinematic database, waiting to be cited and recited, configured and reconfigured as we seek to navigate our way through visual culture.

The Clock is playing at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York until February 19, and I’d love to hear from anyone who has watched it to get a sense of your experiences with it.

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Time Perception

I had planned to blog this BBC radio broadcast on time perception a few days ago but happened to be particularly busy that week. The show focuses primarily on biological and physiological causes for experiences of time dilation, the perception that time is slowing down, during car accidents or other life-threatening situations. It’s worth a listen while you drink your morning (or early afternoon) coffee. Seen at The Salt Box among other places.

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Time is on Our Side

Via Jason J: A link to the International Society for the Study of Time. Given my current book project, I should really know more about these folks.

Update: Speaking of time, Boing Boing points to some “upcoming numerically cool dates.”

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Inventing Eternal Sunshine

Interesting news: researchers have developed a pill that may make it possible to blunt memories of traumatic experiences, such as those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers, a group of psychiatrists based in the US and Canada, have postulated that PTSD occurs “because the brain goes haywire during and right after a strongly emotional event, pouring out stress hormones that help store these memories in a different way than normal ones are preserved.” These resrachers believe that taking a pill to diminish these chemicals soon after the traumatic event might prevent PTSD. A quick scan of the article does clarify that the pill will not, a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, cause amnesia or put a “hole” in someone’s memory.

There are some obvious benefits here, as well as some objections that are also not surprising: people who are dealing with all manner of traumatic experiences–whether abuse, war trauma, or a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina–might be able to ease some of their pain, and the article notes that with veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, doctors need better treatment for PTSD (no mention of the needs of civilians living in Iraq and Afghanistan, of course). As Leon Kass, Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics notes, “painful memories serve a purpose and are part of the human experience.”

One of the reasons I find this story compelling is the theory of memory that informs the research. The AP writer notes, “Memories, painful or sweet, don’t form instantly after an event but congeal over time. Like slowly hardening cement, there is a window of opportunity when they are shapable.” I’ve got some other writing/research to do tonight, so I can’t work through this story in as much detail as I would like, but found it too intriguing not to mention on the blog (and hope that blogging it will help me to remember to return to the idea later).

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One in a Million Trillion

This is primarily a bookmarking post for future reference. I’ve been watching DVD collections of the Errol Morris series, First Person, over the last few days and found the episode, “One in a Million Trillion: An Interview with Rick Rosner,” particularly interesting. In the episode, Rosner describes how he sought to repeat the experience of going to high school several times until he could “get it right.” Rosner managed to forge transcripts, identification cards, and other materials and would then “transfer” into a new high school in a different state. Essentially he engages in a series of “do-overs” he compares to time travel (or at least the repetitions of an alternate-reality film such as Groundhog Day).

This desire for a do-over colors Rosner’s adult life, as well. Rosner describes his obsessive attempts to get onto the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Once on the show, Rosner loses on what he believes to be a poorly-worded question (“What capital city is located at the highest altitude above sea level? A. Mexico City, B. Quito, C. Bogotá, D. Kathmandu”), eventually spending the next several years of life seeking to get another chance on the show to make up for the faulty question (Rosner’s correspondence to Millionaire producers is available here).

Over the course of his research, Rosner develops, according to Errol Morris’s website, “a theory of cosmology in which the universe is seen as trillions of years old. ‘Why so old!?’ you might ask: To give the universe the opportunity to endlessly redo itself” (side note: these reviews offer a slightly different take on Rosner’s experiences).

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Night and Day

For now a bookmarking post: Peter Baldwin, “Mapping Time: Night and day in the nineteenth-century city,” Commonplace, 6.1 (October 2005). Thanks to Anne for the link.

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The End of Time

Via McChris: a WSJ.com article about a US proposal to the United Nations to “simplify the world’s timekeeping by making each day last exactly 24 hours.” essentially, the US wants to eliminate “leap seconds,” which are added every few years because the earth takes slightly longer than 24 hours to fully rotate. As the article notes, adding leap seconds can often be a big hassle for computers that were not programmed to accept 61-second minutes, and because some computer programmers assert that such imprecision can be costly, the leap second may become a thing of the past.

This change would, of course, also have its costs. Sundials and sextants would no gradually lose their accuracy, although with GPS, that concern has generally been dismissed. It would also lead to teh sun rising later and later, a problem the US argues could be avoided by adding a “leap hour” every 500 years or so. Others, including the Earth Rotation Service’s leap-second chief, Daniel Gambis, of the Paris Observatory, are concerned about removing time’s representation from its ground in the earth’s rotation: “As an astronomer, I think time should follow the Earth.” His comments are echoed by astronomer Steve Allen, who comments, “Time has basically always really meant what you measure when you put a stick in the ground and look at its shadow.” Gambis’s concern also has financial implications. Re-setting telescopes to the new time would cost thousands of dollars each. And, of course, the sun would set on the role of Britain’s Royal Observatory in establishing universal time, poetntially setting off a plot that only Joseph Conrad could have imagined (thanks for the Conrad tip, McChris).

The WSJ article is right that the question is essentially a philosophical one, or perhaps more precisely, a representational one, raising questions about what, exactly, time represents, and in some sense, the removal of the leap second might seem to represent an increased abstraction of time, moving it away from the “natural” rotation of the earth. Of course, even universal time (Greenwich Mean Time, now relaced by Coordinated Universal Time, measured by atomic clocks) is a relatively recent phenomenon, as Stephen Kern explains in The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (has anyone read Kern’s new preface?), one largely connected to increasing industrialization and faster transportation in Eurpoe and the US.

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Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Two time-travel related stories have been making the rounds in the blogosphere this week. First, as Diana mentioned in a comment to a previous entry, Amal Dorai, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering is planning a Time Travel Convention for May 7 at 8 PM. Following the logic of the Cat and Girl comic, Dorai reasons that you would really only need one time-travel convention because time travelers could theoretically return to their home times and invite all of their friends, though Destination Day may give the MIT time-travel convention some competition (also check out the NPR interview with Dorai and his short bibliography on time travel).

Meanwhile, RedNova reports on a Black Box that has had some success in anticipating catastrophic events. According to scientists, including Princeton University emeritus researcher Dr. Roger Nelson, this black box anticipated the September 11 attacks by several hours and later repeated this uncanny sensitivity by anticipating the tsunami in December of last year. These researchers, who are part of the Global Consciousness Project, claim that the black box consistently experiences abnormal activity (I’m not going to try to re-explain the details) immediately before major global events. They theorize that if time flows backwards and forwards, “it might just be possible to foretell major world events. We would, in effect, be ‘remembering’ things that had taken place in our future.” The scientists clearly don’t anticipate that they’ll be able to produce a machine that can predict the future with any degree of certainty, though some hope that such a machine might allow people to tap into their psychic abilities.

Because I’m writing on time-travel film, I always find these stories fascinating even if I’m not sure (yet) how they’ll fit into the work that I’m doing (if they fit at all). I think that what I find so interesting about Durai’s Time-Travel Convention is his awareness that the Web may not exist in its current form in the distant future when time travel is invented (assuming that it ever is), hence his attempts to have the event mentioned in print media with notices in major newspapers and tucked into “obscure” books (does my dissertation count?).

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Time Travel and Philosophy

Just a quick link to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time machines (via Jonathan Goodwin).

By the way, I saw Hotel Rwanda last night and highly recommend it. I’ll write a longer review later tonight, perhpas, when I’ve actually managed to get some work done.

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Self-Indulgent Link Storage

Working on revising the abstract for my book project and so I was digging around in my archives (procrastination? organizing my thoughts? you decide!), and I rediscovered this Crooked Timber entry by Brian Weatherson on time travel. While sifting through the comments (now, I’ll admit that’s procrastination), I found a link to M. Joseph Young’s “A Primer on Time.” I haven’t looked very closely at Young’s site yet, but his analyses on several prominent time travel movies should be helpful, if only to remind me about some films I need to revisit.

I keep forgetting to rewatch the underrated Marisa Tomei-Vincent D’Onofrio film, Happy Accidents,, for example, but then again, I really didn’t need to be reminded about the Meg Ryan vehicle, Kate and Leopold (actually K&L is a little more interesting than it looks). I’m also trying to think about ways of incorporating a chapter or so on television. I’d especially like to write about the original versions of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

What I enjoyed the most about Brian’s entry and the comments that followed was the discussion of causality, a topic that I have tended to discuss less often in my work on time travel films. I’m usually less concerned about the specifics about the logic of time travel, and in fact, I’m more interested in those films that are “incoherent” or “inconsistent” to use a couple of terms that came up often in the CT discussion. I realize that I’m being pretty cryptic here, mostly because I’m trying to re-process some ideas that are in need of revision.

Update: Just a quick reminder that one of my conference narratives has a link to and discussion of the DeMille film, Male and Female, which I want to discuss in my early cinema chapter.

Update 2: Another DeMille film that deals with time issues, the reincarnation film, The Road to Yesterday, which is not available on VHS or DVD from Amazon. For some reason, on second glance, Man and Woman doesn’t look like the right film.

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Zombies and Time Travel

I came across Matthew Yglesias’ discussion of zombies and time travel while blog surfing. It sounds like a cool philosophical problem, but I’m not sure I have much to say about it right now. I just wanted to remember where I found it (See also Brian Weatherson).

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