SCIENCE ON SCREEN: Primer (Shane Carruth & Prof. Clifford V. Johnson in person!)

Science on Screen at The Cinefamily is made possible through a grant from the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Science fiction (the good kind, anyway) is based on a beautiful river of “what-ifs.” Here’s one: what if Robert Zemeckis had a degree in mathematics and was a former engineer? Would he have made a film like Primer, which treats time travel with total realism, hewing closely both to the physics behind it and the actual culture of technological advancement? Because that’s what, on a budget of only $7,000, director Shane Carruth did, as well as serving as writer, editor, star and composer as well. Dedicated to portraying scientific advancement the way it really happens — in the garages of engineers, after the formal work day is done — Primer didn’t just blow minds, it short-circuited them as they tried to follow the intricacy of its unprecedentedly accurate portrayal of the implications of what it would really be like to travel through time. Awarded the 2004 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Primer has steadily built a devoted, if bewildered, cult following ever since — and tonight, we’ll have not only Shane Carruth in person to introduce the film, but also USC’s Prof. Clifford V. Johnson in the house to give the audience a sweet breakdown of time travel and physics after the screening!
Dir. Shane Carruth, 2004, 35mm, 77 min.

Watch the trailer for “Primer”!
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