The Man From Earth

The Man From Earth

The Man From Earth

2007. Directed by Richard Schenkman

Made on a shoestring budget and distributed either peer to peer or not entirely legally on bit-torrent, The Man From Earth is single location existential duel of the humanities where words are the weapons.

John Oldman is a college professor who is unexpectedly packing up and leaving his job and town behind. His fellow faculty members, from various departments show up to throw him an unplanned goodbye party. It's during the social that the faculty begin to question why Oldman is leaving and he begrudgingly explains that he is a 14,000 year old cave man who has lived through the ages, moving every few years to avoid detection.

It's after this set up, that the contest begins. Each of the faculty members take their turns disputing Oldman's claims by using their various schools of interest as evidence. The film is dialogue heavy and almost certainly requires multiple viewings, this is a thinking film that examines various concepts of the human experience through the scope of academia and mankind's various suppositions.

The cast, filled with some of the great character actors of yesterday, includes William Katt, Tony Todd, and Richard Riehle. They are superb and committed and their blended chemistry is what makes this unique experimental film work,

The film is shot in a grainy, low tech 70's presentation and it only enhances the idea of a man out of time. In the end, the film makes bold accusations about faith and it's relation to human society that are bound to spark debate in its aftermath.

The Man From Earth may not jive with everyone and it's certainly got logical flaws if you look hard enough, but the premise is fascinating and the execution is a worthy entry in the indie art house community.

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