Friday, September 9, 2016

California Typewriter

California Typerwriter (dir. Doug Nichol, 2016) is a new documentary. From the film’s website:

California Typerwriter is a documentary portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse, featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others.

It also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last standing repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging machines clicking.

In the process, the film delivers a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines, and encourages us to consider our own relationship with technology, old and new, as the digital age’s emphasis on speed and convenience redefines who’s serving whom, human or machine?
The first sentence makes me curious. The second sentence makes me want to see the film. (California Typewriter is a family-run shop in Berkeley.) The third sentence, not so much. The film’s trailer equates the typewriter with freedom and rebellion: there’s even a still on the film’s website of a typewriter bearing the (Woody Guthrie-inspired) words “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” That claim would come as news to the totalitarian regimes that documented their genocidal efforts in meticulous detail with typewriters. A machine can be put to any number of human purposes.

Related reading
All OCA typewriter posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Martin Howard said...

You are absolutely right about the typewriter not only being used for dissent.
I had also bristled at that statement and was pleased to see your clear reflection on this.

Do see this film though when it makes its way into the world from the Telluride Film Festival. It is a very engaging and pleasurable film experience.

Martin Howard

- antique typewriter collector who is featured in the film -

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Martin. I do plan to see it (and, now, you, in it) if I can (Netflix streaming?).