"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Decades Apart (Director's Cut): Worth Keeping Even Closer

Hey, it's rare that I review a 20+ minute movie, and even more rare (as in never before) a "Director's Cut" of a movie I've reviewed before.  But I can almost never resist a time-travel narrative, and seeing as how I enjoyed Decades Apart, literally a week less than a year ago (here's my review), I couldn't resist the brand new "Noir" aka Director's Cut of Andrew Di Pardo's little movie.

The story, in case you didn't read my review last year or see the movie, is about a phone call from a train station in 1953 that lands in a home in 2018.  The caller is Diane.  The receiver is Nathan, who takes the call on the landline kept in the house for his grandmother.   The conversation that ensues is savvy, tender, deep, and endearing.

It also occurred to me, as I was just watching this new cut, that the story of a possible couple who get to know each other only via phone, separated not by miles but something much more impenetrable -- decades -- has special relevance to our pandemic times, perhaps now just beginning to come to an end, as more and more of us get vaccinated, after more than a year in which the only way most of us could relate to each other, unless we already were living together, was via Zoom.  When Nathan rushes over to the train station near the end of the movie to finally see and with any luck embrace Diane, they can talk and see each, but their hands, as they reach out to touch, are separated by some temporal barrier far more potent than social distancing.

Now the old-fashioned phone, as media theorists (including me as a doctoral student) realized back in the 1970s, is a profoundly personal, even intimate, instrument, in which the speaker's mouth goes right into the listener's ear.  That's much more personal, all the time, than a Zoom or any video conversation usually is.   So because of that, Diane and Nathan already have a lot going for them.

And there's a power in this Director's Cut, as in the pre-pandemic original, that stems from this telephonic connection, and makes you believe that Diane could be talking to the future, and Nathan to the past.  It's what I had in mind when I wrote "If I Traveled to the Past" (I wrote the lyrics, John Anealio wrote the music) in 2010, and recorded it for Old Bear Records in late 2018 (released in 2020).   It's what I had in mind in every time travel novel and short story I've ever written.

Deborah Hahn was good as Diane, and Martin Tylicki as Nathan, as they were in the original (of course they were, it's the same performance).  The original is still on Amazon, and I saw the new Noir Cut on YouTube.  I have no idea if that link will work for you, or how long, but with any luck you won't have to travel too far into the future to see it.

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