For his second feature film, writer-director Mike Cahill has reteamed with Brit Marling, with whom he worked on his first feature, “Another Earth.” Marling both starred in and wrote that movie alongside Cahill. In this new feature, “I Origins,” Marling takes on the role of Karen, a scientist and love interest for main character Ian Gray (Michael Pitt).
Karen does not represent the sole love interest in the movie. Also appearing in the film is Astrid Bergès-Frisbey who plays Sofi, Gray's first love. However, the movie is not a love triangle as much as it is a scientific exploration that turns into the fantastical.
It is possible in fact to look at Sofi and Karen as two opposite sides of a single whole – Karen is the analytical side whereas Sofi is the free-spirited, ethereal one. That being said, Bergès-Frisbey does not necessarily believe that dichotomy to be true, she sees them as complementary as opposed to opposites.
“They're not like really opposites,” Bergès-Frisbey explained in a recent sit down with herself and Marling. She continued, “It's what I like about Mike's films, they're not… monochrome. They're very subtle and the characters are very human, with so many different colors.”
Watching “I Origins,” one could certainly believe that Gray's love for Sofi is stronger than his love for Karen, as it winds up driving his scientific obsession and research. Marling, though, would take issue with that assessment.
“I think one of the cool things about the film is that it doesn't really make a value judgment,” Marling said. “It's not saying, 'oh, this is young puppy love and this is mature, married love.' It doesn't do that at all, it sort of says 'you need different things from different people at different stages of your life.'”
Marling's statement in a way goes back to Bergès-Frisbey's about the film not being monochromatic. Marling is not making an equation arguing that an early stage love is puppy love, and certainly not taking it that step further to suggest that as puppy love it is a lesser love. It is all about shades and degrees.
A science fiction film, “I Origins” attempts to do what so many great science fiction films do, and that is to explore something with which we are all familiar (in this case love) or fear via a series of impossible or fantastical events. Clearly Bergès-Frisbey and Marling feel as though the movie succeeds in that goal.
You can make the decision for yourself tomorrow, July 18, when “I Origins” opens in select theaters.