9 December 2011

Whilst we are imaging what it would be like to live on the Moon at FACT for our upcoming exhibition Republic of the Moon, Another Earth, the new film from Mike Cahill, imagines what it would be like to live in a parallel universe. Like Melancholia, a large unexpected planet appears in the Earth's sky. Not as romantically named as the mass in Von Trier's film, this planet is called Earth 2 and is a duplicate of our own planet Earth.

The film's storyline is less about science fiction but more about human turmoil. An astrophysics student named Rhoda is living with the aftermath of a fatal car crash of her own making. She dreams to live on Earth 2 and meet the duplicate her, starting again on the new planet. This longing becomes a way of exorcising her own demons as she imagines how she would do things differently. 

The director explains the relationship between the two very different storylines by saying that the other Earth is "kind of this externalisation of the interior world of Rhoda. I felt like there was something very powerful about really externalizing it, by creating a situation where there really is another version of all of us".

In case you were wondering where Earth 2 had been hiding undiscovered, Cahill points out that we don't really know what is behind the Sun. Earth and Earth 2 would have existed side by side until one got sucked into a wormhole and ended up on the other side of the Sun. Maybe a bit far fetched, but each time the planets align in our solar system, orbits get shifted by about 15 degrees, which could eventually move something into view that was previously hidden. There is definitely a bit of science fact in this science fiction film.