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By Ashley Cooper | September 18, 2004

This feature length experimental sci-fi “adventure” tells the tale of Simon and Edena. Simon is a former high energy astrophysicist who spends his days loafing about his bedroom painting signs of the questions and ideas that echo in his brain – basic “What does it all mean?” type of stuff. 100 years later, we meet Edena, a psychic healer who, suffering from a brain tumor, decides to go live in the middle of the desert and deal with the problem on her own. Between the two characters and the lengthy passage of time, there’s plenty talk about how “we’re all stardust” and other such mystical flap trap. To quote Edena – “What the hell are you talking about?”

Okay, so this film definitely is not my bag. I knew that after the first five minutes and nothing really changed an hour and a half later. So I’m not going to spend time here taking apart the subject material. It is apparent here that the filmmaker feels very deeply about whatever he’s talking about and I’m sure some of other people will, too. But it’s not just the subject matter that I had problems with here, it’s the way it’s presented that bothered me the most.

Okay, so you’re a little indie, struggling to be seen and taken seriously. It’s a tough climb, but once you get that audience (whether it be one guy watching the DVD, or a sold-out screening), you’ve been blessed with this opportunity to show ‘em what you got. The last thing you wanna do is kick them in the groin right when you have their attention and this is what I feel “Little Eden” has done. Not only is the subject matter for acquired tastes, but the film is also “experimental in nature.” That’s what the DVD cover says and “experimental in nature” here reads as extremely slow and pretentious. Most of the first half of “Little Eden” takes place in Simon’s bedroom as he wallows in misery, paints signs and talks to some weird doll with an ape face. Oh yeah, and he finds a mutant baby underneath his house. But that’s it. You get to watch that for a good 40 minutes. Then, once his house burns down, an act of mercy I say, we zoom 100 years into the future where Edena meanders about the desert, wallowing in her own misery. Then the universe ends and that’s about that. So, there’s the incredibly slow pacing featuring activities such as lying on the floor and rolling around in dirt and the astrophysical babble that people have to sit through. In fact, there aren’t really any activities going on, nor interesting characters to pay attention to. I’m all about experimental ways of telling a story, but having something happen in your film for an audience to watch is a MUST! I hate to say it, but there are going to be a lot of people out there who are going to be less forgiving than I. I sat through this whole thing.

I love experimental films, but just because something is experimental (or is called experimental) doesn’t mean that it’s good. “Experimental” is not an excuse to make something unwatchable acceptable. Experimental films are just that – they’re experiments; some are interesting, some not so interesting, some bring about a new revolutionary way of looking at things, others clear out the building and force someone to call the fire department. Unfortunately, this experiment has gone awry.

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