An Old Friend
1h 56min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 11 November 2016 (USA)
When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks - are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers - and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.
Arrival is an upcoming 2016 American science fiction drama film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by author Ted Chiang. The film stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. It will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2016.
Io-9~Comment said:Well, it’s based on a short story, so if you wanted to just read that it’s not much of a commitment. Also, the rest of that book of short stories is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough!
OK, that aside, let me see what I can do... (without peeking at the wiki article to compare)
The aliens are much less linear. They have round symmetry, so they don’t have a defined “front” or “back”, they just exist at the center of their own perception. That extends to the 4th dimension as well, they don’t think of the day they arrive on earth as “before” the day they leave, they just consider the N days they were here as an un-ordered set of days.
So the scientists are watching these non-linear beings write and trying to decipher letters and sentences, but it turns out it’s more like painting - you can start anywhere, work on pieces in any order, and only the final picture matters.
In figuring this out, the main character starts thinking in terms like the aliens, which extends to thinking about time as not having an important order to it, but just having a sum of events over a particular span. (ie, those youtube things that show 100 panels at once, each showing one minute of a movie.) So she’s simultaneously deciding whether to have a child, while seeing the sum of the child’s life over time.
The artistry of it is that the story uses flashbacks and flashforwards like lots of stories do, but it’s all a double meaning to reinforce the alien philosophy that the order of these events don’t matter. I’m not sure how that translates to the screen. but, again, a great reason to read the original.
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"Story of Your Life"
Author Ted Chiang
Genre(s) Science fiction short story
Published in Starlight 2
Publication date 1998