World of Tomorrow (2015) — At only fifteen minutes, this animated film by Don Hertzfeldt generates hours worth of discussion: time travel, clones, death, the nature of memory and the self, class divisions, love, and more. It doesn’t give any answers, but stirs up plenty of thought and even a few laughs. A clone (Emily 3) from 227 years in the future time travels back to visit her ancestor (Emily Prime), and passes on a few words of wisdom which the clone remembers being passed on to her… by her. That’s the sort of time warp that happens if you decide to visit an ancestor whose memories you are going to inherit.
For me, the film is about our dysfunctional relationship with death and our desperate attempts to avoid it. While today’s supplement craze pales in comparison to the death-delaying technologies envisioned in World of Tomorrow they all ultimately fall short of providing any real solution to “the deep longing for something you cannot remember,” that Emily 3 expresses.
World of Tomorrow and other of Hertzfeldt’s films are available on Vimeo.