Sam Klemke’s Time Machine
- English spoken
For almost thirty years, Sam Klemke filmed an annual new year’s message, taking a close look at the past year of his life. Director Matthew Bate takes this footage and runs with it, mixing it up with an old documentary about the Voyager space shuttle. And yes, that actually makes sense.
In 1977, Klemke started his video diary as a clean-shaven teenager, full of swagger and life, ready to conquer the world. But at the age of 23 he already sighs: “My life is a fucking mess.”
The next decades don’t get much better. Still, he keeps at it, making his videos year after year. While his beard fills out and gets shaved off, his belly extends and shrinks, girlfriends come and go, and his dreams of a showbiz life evaporate. He has accepted his career as a travelling street caricaturist by the time he posts a brief montage of his diaries on YouTube in 2011 and the video goes viral.
Director Matthew Bate, who got permission from Klemke to forge a movie out of the material after seeing the YouTube clip, has grander ambitions than just a simple journey through time. The year that Klemke started filming was also the year that the Voyager space shuttle was shot into space, carrying a golden disc on which the greatest achievements of mankind were compiled: symphonies, paintings, mathematics, language. A calling card to space. Bate intercuts a French documentary about the Voyager with Klemke’s material, and the collision is hilarious: the lofty ideals contained in the golden disc, versus Klemke’s bungled (but for most of us much more relatable) life here on earth.
Tip: keep watching all the way until the end. You will want to anyway, because even with all his depressive tendencies, Klemke is a very engaging host. But it’s not until the last fifteen minutes that the penny really drops.
Translation: Marjan Westbroek