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Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding ***

Written and Directed by Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller and James Norton

Reviewed by A. Filem Wänker for Uniformity

In this quirky comedy we find the protagonist, Nao, in search of direction: temporal direction. This is a film about the lengths we will go to find direction, and our vulnerability to magical thinking and easy fixes.

Nao begin his search for direction at the heart of entropy. This, he thinks, must be the source of direction. Ultimately, though, he finds no direction in entropy. Early in the film we find him distressed at the realisation that somewhere in our universe, entropy might be decreasing.

Disappointed, he resumes his search. It is then, when he is at his lowest, that Nao meets The Primitivists. Initially suspicious of the idea that direction is a primitive matter, the Primitivists offer Nao diachronic grounding relations. In one very funny scene they pull these relations out of a hat, alongside a fluffy white bunny. Look, they say, these are what gives us direction.

When Nao complains that this doesn't seem to explain direction at all, the Primitivists take him on a whirlwind ride on the Circus of Grounding, showing him wonders beyond his belief (a woman sawed in half, a half-man half-donkey, some disjunctions).

Overwhelmed by the lights and colours of the Circus, Nao abandons his quest for direction, and takes up life as one of the Primitivists. In the last show of the film we see Nao standing on a street with a sandwich board that reads “accept diachronic grounding relations into your life.” Funny, but painful. Three stars.

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