Fantasia Festival 2014: I Origins (2014)

The second movie in my line-up is not only on the most packed schedule on a personal level but also one that I’ve been anticipating a whole lot.  Its this little independent drama called I Origins. Mike Cahill’s first movie after Another Earth, which I totally adored.  My review of that one is HERE if you’d like to check it out. Whatever Brit Marling attaches herself to, I’m willing to go see.  And then there’s Astrid Berges-Frisbey who I adored in Angels of Sex (review HERE).  And its been a while since I’ve seen Michael Pitt and even though the movie Murder by Numbers wasn’t all that great, I still remember Michael Pitt vividly and how I thought he’d turn out to be a fine actor someday (or at least I hoped it would).

I’m getting ahead of myself, how about a little summary before we hit the review (as complicated as it will be to write)?

I origins posterDirector: Mike Cahill

Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Steven Yuen

Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) is a PhD student and a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye.  He is ready to prove that God has nothing to do with the creation of life but rather evolution can be controlled by humans.  When Karen (Brit Marling) enters into his life as his lab partner, she helps him discover the ambitious way of looking at his research and experiments.  At the same time, he is also lead by the mystery of these beautiful eyes that mesmerized him which leads him to Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), a free-will and spiritual woman. Sofi becomes his first love but also the one that eventually slips away from him. Years later, all his research is questioned when the find a breakthrough of finding the impossible happen, similar iris patterns.  Which brings the question: Are the eyes really the windows to our soul?

I Origins

I Origins has this amazing concept and just like Another Earth, it sets out a lot of questions.  Last time was essentially soul search and forgiveness while looking at the possibility of a second chance.  This time, its exploring the eye, with the main questions of religious/spiritual beliefs and science.  Isn’t that the big question, right? Except there is no reason to be offended by this even if you carry your faith with a certain religion.  Mike Cahill is quite a genius, I find, because he explores the stubbornness of believing in science as always finding proof but then looking at whether if it were to be disapproved by religion, or vice versa with religion, whether they would be accepted. What I love about this movie is not even touching these elements but just that, it looks at whether there is a soul and reincarnation.  To me, the fact that he can make something so abstract and invisible thing appear in the context of a movie and apply it so efficiently and beautifully, I was totally sold. As with Another Earth, these stories progress slowly and build their momentum to enchant its viewers. Honestly, I really think the enjoyment of this movie requires you to stay open-minded and to fully accept the possibility of anything that can happen.

The best line in the movie goes to (and its in the trailer) when Ian Gray meets a woman helping him out in India and asks him: What would you do if something spiritual disproves your scientific beliefs?

I origins

In a way, you can look at I Origins in different phases but each equally passionate for what its trying to say.  The first part is an introduction with passionate love story about first love.  In this sense, Michael Pitt and Astrid Berges-Frisbey are quite convincing as the really in love couple except I guess, there’s always that question of when their beliefs would get in the way.  Sofi is a spiritual girl who believes that they were brought together because she feels like they are connected in a previous life, which is something that Ian obviously does not believe in.  As I write this up, I’m starting to see some correlations in the movie that I didn’t even notice the first time around.  Except it is undeniable that their love does feel very genuine.  Although at times, it seems to brush past maybe just like how a quickly developed romance feels like with all the passion masking our logic, but thats just me overanalyzing, I think. However, we quickly see that the beginning happens as quickly their ending and that part of their relationship is what peaks the turning point of where this movie is going and thats when we fall in the world of possibilities, exploration and just simply thought-provoking area.

I Origins

I have nothing to say about the cast here honestly but rather if I could, I’d put spoilers and then I’d invite everyone who has seen this to have an intense conversation about I Origins.  I think the cast was perfect.  The only person I haven’t talked about at this point is Brit Marling.  She is a beautiful actress who knows how to dive into these challenging roles of being torn between some intense choices in life.  It was that way with Another Earth, same goes to The East and now we have I Origins to add to her list of intriguing movies. Brit Marling’s Karen lights up on the passion of discovering something new shows a bit about her character itself.

I’m out of words for just how impressed I was with I Origins.  It was beautiful to watch and it blew my mind.  It was about deep issues: life and death, reincarnation, science and religion and especially beliefs and passion.  In my opinion, Mike Cahill really went over and beyond with this movie and its amazing to see.  I was speechless at the end of this and I offer my standing ovation to him and everyone involved in this movie because its been awhile that I’ve been genuinely and completely in awe with a movie and spent some time thinking about the genius of everything behind it.

Seeing as this was a Canadian premiere, any thoughts on this movie? Anyone thats seen it can please tell me whether you liked it or not? And if you didn’t, could you please explain to me why? If you did, what did you like about it? 

9 thoughts on “Fantasia Festival 2014: I Origins (2014)

  1. I saw a private screening of this not too long ago with Cahill and Pitt in attendance for a Q and A afterwords in Toronto. I was blown away by the ambition Cahill continues to harness for his flicks. It’s a little chaotic and unbelievable at times, the story seems to push itself along for progression sake. That being said, it’s immensely beautiful and thought-provoking. There wasn’t a dry-eye in the house by the time it concluded. Even I started to tear up a bit lol.

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  2. I am likely not going to get a chance to see this one and that sounds like a shame after reading this review. Glad that you are having fun at the festival! I wish that I could have actually been there!

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  3. Pingback: Ends, Beginnings and Everything in Between! | Tranquil Dreams

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