You can luxuriate in the creative genius of 43-year-old Maleonn in the Chinese documentary “Our Time Machine”. On the face of it this is a story of Maleonn crafting together what one might call a puppet show “Papa’s Time Machine”. But the puppets are creative masterpieces. The show is about a son who creates a time machine so he can venture into the past to retrieve his father’s memories. Maleonn’s 85-year-old father Ma Ke, a former artistic director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Theatre, has Alzheimer’s.
Although you can be awed by the puppets this is also a story of the circle of life which is quite simple in that you are born and eventually you die. It is life that is in between and it may take you years to realize this simple truth. Maleonn makes this realization with the birth of his daughter and he is amazed by each time he shows his daughter to Ma Ke it is the first time he realizes he has a granddaughter. And he can’t remember he has been previously introduced to his granddaughter. The great joy shown by Ma Ke finally lets Maleonn come to terms with his father’s Alzheimer’s. Ma Ke also realizes his illness when he says, “The machine is broken. What can I do?”
As for the puppet show the best I can describe it is a fusion between Cirque de Soleil and The Blue Man Group.
The documentary was winner of “Best Cinematography” at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. The film opens virtually at over 35 theatres in the United States on September 11th. For participating theatres http://timemachinefilm.com/#screenings
To see the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h97dwAcNf9k