Written and directed by Diane Bell.
Obselidia is an intellectual, dialogue driven film that echoes earlier movies of this type such as My Dinner With Andre. Even though Obselidia offers far more interesting scenes and landscapes than My Dinner With Andre, though, it’s never quite as fascinating or multi-dimensional.
Perhaps that comparison is not entirely fair or ideal, as Obselidia has a mood and possibly an agenda all its own. The protagonist here is George (Michael Piccirilli), a withdrawn librarian who collects all things that are, or will soon be obsolete.
He meets Sophie (Gaynor Howe), a movie projectionist (a profession that may soon become extinct) and for most of the film the two exchange ideas and engage in some tentative flirting.
Also included in the mix is Lewis (Frank Hoyt Taylor), a doom-and-gloom scientist whom George and Sophie visit in Death Valley. Since Lewis believe the whole world (or at least humanity) is about to become extinct, this renders everything into the realm of “obselidia.”
At some points, I wondered if one motivation for making this film was to give Lewis a chance to recite his diatribe. Yet, this doesn’t make too much sense, since he tells us the situation is hopeless anyway.
The cheerful and uplifting mood of this film ranges from discussions on global warming to the existentialist dilemma of how to live when everything may soon end.
Even though some interesting issues are raised, I found George’s fussy and insulated lifestyle a little hard to take. His fear of sleeping in a tent for one night makes you wonder why Sophie bothers to be chasing after him (though in an ambivalent manner). While his character is perhaps meant to be charmingly anachronistic, it can also tax your patience. When combined with Lewis’s apocalyptic outlook, it’s a bit of an ordeal to sit through.
The potential romance between George and Sophie faces obstacles both predictable and not so predictable. The ending was ambiguous and a bit depressing, though I suppose anything else would not have been true to the film’s spirit.
Obselidia is the kind of serious, idea-filled film that indie film lovers will want to like and perhaps even try to like. While it’s definitely quirky and interesting, it’s also pedantic and annoying as well.
Available on Netflix streaming.