Utopia in Four Movements

Saw an absolutely fascinating movie yesterday at the ICA: Utopia in Four Movements. This engaging film, which premiered last year at Sundance, is unusual in at least two ways. First, although it has music and voice-over like most documentaries, both are live rather than recorded in the film. Music was provided in real time by The Quavers, and voice-over was done by filmmaker Sam Green. The film itself was compelling enough, but Green’s narration was striking for its clarity and perfect timing. I was astonished to learn in the Q&A that followed the screening that Green is not a professional actor; you would never know it from the quality of his delivery.

The second unusual feature of the film is that one quarter of it dealt with Esperanto. How often do you come across something like that? The entire documentary was about different utopian movements, ranging from Esperanto to shopping malls — yes, shopping malls —but the inspiring but ultimately unsuccessful vision of Esperanto was of course what most captured my attention. Go see it if you get the chance.

Categories: Linguistics, Movies & (occasionally) TV