Indie “it girl” Brit Marling first burst on to the scene back in 2011, when the actress/screenwriter debuted a pair of Sundance films that she both starred in and helped write — Zal Batmanglij’s stunning Sound of My Voice and Mike Cahill’s confounding Another Earth — and made one heck of an entrance at the same time. (On the trivia side of things, Marling, Batmanglij, and Cahill all lived together when they were writing the two films, and Marling — who had a day job at the time — would write with one of the guys in the morning and the other at night.)
Marling already reteamed with Batmanglij last year, again starring in and co-writing his second feature, The East, and now it’s time to see her second outing with Cahill. Marling only co-stars in the film, I Origins, but the feature is a solid followup to their Another Earth, which blended both big human questions with scientific implications. Another Earth imagined that a second Earth — yes, another one — appeared in the sky one day, one that soon revealed itself to be a twin of our own Earth, complete with twins of everyone on Earth.
For I Origins, Cahill and Marling are still playing with science and identity, and they’re using eyeballs to do it. No, really. Marling stars alongside Michael Pitt in the film, as a pair of molecular biologists whose work eventually leads them to the seemingly inexplicable discovery that there are people in the world who have the same iris patterns as each other. Think of it as finding out that someone has the same fingerprints as you. What does it all mean? Well, it certainly means that someone will eventually break out an “eyes are the window to the soul” reference.
It also means that Pitt’s character might have some solace after the death of his wife, because yes, there’s someone out there who has her same iris pattern.
The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it picked up the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, which Cahill and Marling previously won with Another Earth. The film’s first trailer definitely makes the idea (eye-dea?) sound a bit bonkers, but the film was well-received at the festival. Although I missed it at the fest, I heard nothing but good buzz about it, and as someone who initially disliked Another Earth and eventually came to enjoy it (thanks, HBO constant play!), I’m certainly interested in seeing it.
I Origins will open on July 18.
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