|At the beginning of this film we see various stages in the life of Nigel. We see him as a high school student about to fail math due to lack of interest in the subject. We see him as an old man who enjoys his garden of bamboo. And, we see him as a middle-aged math professor working on a new theory of time. Then, things really begin to happen when the young Nigel shows up in the middle-aged Nigel's office for tutoring. Math professor Nigel tries to help his younger self develop the interest in math that he knows he does, and together they begin to better understand the mysteries of time, life and love.|
The mathematical dialogue is stilted and basically nonsensical. The notion of "vertical time" is something that literary experts and sociologists seem to like to discuss, and was apparently inspired by the idea that time always appears on the horizontal axis and that it is fundamentally different to view it on the vertical axis instead. Perhaps I'm being obtuse, but I do not see this as anything more than a rather vague and obvious analogy. Since Newton, it has been clear that time is just one of many parameters in the equations, and Einstein's work explicitly ties time and space together into an inseparable whole. (Einstein is mentioned frequently in this movie. The academics refer to him as "E" and "Albert".) Here, however, it is formalized into a mathematical construction in which "space is constant" but "time and perception are variables". (Click here to see a photo showing Nigel's mathematical scribblings, which make more sense to me than the rambling dialogue that accompanied it.)
Having said that I do not particularly like the idea of "vertical time", I still must admit that this film is a very nice work of art based on it!. If it just showed the life of a character out of chronological order and made some philosophical observations about the inevitability of death it would have been one of many such works of fiction, and in tough competition with Slaughterhouse Five (one of my favorites, which also features a notion of "vertical time" in the form of the Tralfamadorean worldview). But, the interactions between the different Nigels and especially the decision to have him researching a mathematical theory of time are creative, clever, well-done and enjoyable.
If you get a chance to see "The Ah of Life", do! It is going to be shown at The 20th Annual Woods Hole Film Festival, July 30-August 6 2011, and will probably be available for purchase after it finishes the film festival circuit. Follow the link below (or click on the title above) for more information from the director's official website.
Hear ye, hear ye!
"the ah of life" feature film is on Amazon for rent or buy!
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A very well made movie with a very good cast of characters. The film quality was great and the asian professor and his assistant are very good together. You do have to stay with the movie or else you could get lost. If you are an individual who enjoys thinking, you will enjoy the movie. I highly recommend this work. I would like to purchase a hard copy for the local library collection.