sxswf: Secret Screening Out of This World

Another Earth sneaks into the festival

sxswf: Secret Screening Out of This World

We got to the Paramount early on Monday, fueled by rumors that the secret screening was anything from Thor to The Hangover 2 (we had gotten the regular secret screening rumors mixed up with the Ain’t It Cool News secret screening rumors, apparently).

Spirits were high: What sort of cinematic awesomeness awaited us within the historic theater? Speculation was rampant, if reserved.

Finally, a volunteer overheard our speculation and filled us in: Mike Cahill's Another Earth, starring Brit Marling, who was attending SXSWf in support of her Sundance hit, Sound of My Voice (another sci-fi indie). Blackberries and iPhones were deployed in the service of information-gathering: Now that we had a name, what the hell were we in for?

One person in line behind me bailed when he saw that the film had a 5.3 out of 10 rating on imdb.com. My companions were like, “eh, we’re already here” (and we were mellowed by the free mimosas and bloody marys from the Groupon hangover brunch), so we stuck it out.

SXSW's Cherie Saulter introduced the film glowingly, and brought out Marling to say a few words. “This film is very much stitched together by hand,” she said, “like a quilt.” She left the stage with a curtsey and the film unspooled.

Marling’s character, Rhoda, is a promising young mind, just accepted at MIT at age 17. Then a horrific accident changes her fortune just as the news emerges that scientists have just discovered a second planet Earth. This trippy sci-fi conceit is what drives the rest of the narrative, as the characters ponder what their alternate selves may be doing on Earth 2.

Marling, due in part to her solid acting chops but also her striking beauty, is eminently watchable as she navigates her post-tragedy life, which includes cleaning the house of the grieving John (a nicely aging William Mapother). While the film has its problems – certain plot points are both predictable and telegraphed, the presence of a Magical and Wise Brown Friend, a weak ending – but the character study is worth the price of admission alone.

Another Earth was a hit at Sundance and was picked up for distribution, which means that it will likely show up local art house cinemas sometime this year.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Questioning How We Embrace Mortality in <i>She Dies Tomorrow</i>
Questioning How We Embrace Mortality in She Dies Tomorrow
Director Amy Seimetz new film is death positive

Jenny Nulf, July 31, 2020

<i>Pet Sematary</i> Remake to Close SXSW Film
Pet Sematary Remake to Close SXSW Film
Midnighters, Festival Favorites, plus shorts all announced

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 6, 2019

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, Another Earth, Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice, William Mapother, Mike Cahill

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle