Combustible Celluloid
With: Gethin Anthony, Cara Theobold
Written by: Jonathan Kiefer
Directed by: Oliver Krimpas
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 79
Date: 01/30/2020

Around the Sun (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Singularly Plural

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bernard (Gethin Anthony) sits in his car and receives a text, showing a photo of a positive pregnancy test. His reaction is less than thrilled, but like a good Englishman, he pulls himself together when Maggie (Cara Theobold), also English, turns up. Bernard is a location scout and has made an appointment to look at a French chateau, and Maggie is there to show it to him. Apparently, the scientist and philosopher Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle wrote Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds while staying there at some point in the 17th century. Much of the discussion between Bernard and Maggie is about, or inspired by Fontenelle.

As suggested by that book's title, this movie, Around the Sun — written by Jonathan Kiefer and directed by Oliver Krimpas — has its own little twists on the multiverse, as Bernard and Maggie continue to meet and converse and try to connect. A metaphysical walk-and-talk, it's a brainy movie, and clever, too, as when its chapters end, it leaves fascinating little clues as to its methods, delightful little pregnant moments that leave off just before closure. But I proceed with caution. I, for one, was unfamiliar with Fontenelle when I sat down to it and I confess I lost the movie's thread more than once. And, as tightly woven as it is, it's not easy to get a handhold back after that happens.

Still, it's irresponsible to penalize a movie that asks for a bit more involvement than a normal movie would, and I'd suggest that Around the Sun just may be worth the effort. The acting and cinematography are top-notch, and, unlike most movies, it's the perfect running time: 79 minutes! It plays as part of the SF IndieFest, January 30 and February 5, 2020. Click for more info.

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