As a stereotypical Communication Major, I am, as expected, terrible in Math. I find it difficult to solve numbers, grasp problems, and interpret formulas. My math grades made it clear to me that our relationship would never work out.
Watching me watching Primer was like taking a look at my face every time we had a MA11 or MA12 class. I was so confused that even though I forced myself to understand the story as it went along, I miserably failed to catch up after the first 20 minutes into the screening. I admittedly fell asleep in some parts, just because my head was literally pounding because of the amount of information I had to process just to be able to understand the film.
When I got home, I asked my brother to download the file for me, and watched the parts I missed in class. Unfortunately, I was still not able to get the film other than the fact that I know it’s about time travelling and their goal of winning it big with their invested stocks. I guess it was the highfalutin terms used in their simple conversations that turned me off a bit. Or perhaps it was the general mood and setting of the movie that sort of irked me, but whatever it is that led me to disliking Primer — I really, really, don’t like Primer.
I did not like the way it stuck with me, as if wanting me to watch it again and again but making no promises that I’d understand it the second, third or fourth time in a row. I absolutely hated the fact that it begged for me to understand its entirety with the only solution left for me is that if I watch it over again. I do not know what kind of style Primer used, but it was one that I never thought existed. I mean, how can a film you absolutely hate make you want to watch it again and again?
It gives me an eerie feeling thinking about how movies have a certain power over us. For example, in the scene where the two friends are in the bench for the second time and we hear the recording play through the earphone (signifying a repetition in events), we technically were deceived the first time around. I do not know if it’s only me who’s alarmed, or if the scheming aspects of movies disturb some people, too. The power that is given to films and how we, for a moment in time, willingly submit ourselves to it’s world, allowing it to do whatever it wants to us presents a sort of tolerance for hegemonic rules in society. It may seem far-fetched, this idea I’m trying to work out, but it’s the only possible explanation I can come up with to sum up how I felt with Primer.
Movies transport us to a world apart from our own, and makes us feel emotions that are NOT supposed to be real, but ARE real. Movies, in a way, give us no choice during the moment we watch them — the impact of the story or the scenes are unknown to us, thus leaving us unprepared for the things that we might encounter. Take for example horror movies, we watch them with the consent to be frightened but we never really know how “frightened” we are going to be, and if we could handle such fright.
Primer made me feel like I had no choice, like I was under its spell, and this is the primary reason why I feel so much angst towards this film.