If you haven’t read Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. One of the best American novels of the 20th century. And then helped excavate bodies from the rubble so they can be cremated. Eventually, he turned this, the most traumatic experience of his life, into the dark comedy that shaped his writing. His tone is accessible and approachable for very sombre subjects. “Literature is fun,” said one commentator.
Vonnegut is the “Mark Twain of the 20th Century”:
According to Weide, who discovered the author. After his slightly apostate high school teacher, he instructed the class to read Breakfast of the Champions as a young adult. And later slightly regretted it for the occasional abusive s*xual material and yes, he was in the film. Admired by his writings, Weide sought out more of his books. I look like this because the same thing happened to me, the writer of this film.
But I didn’t go as far as Willow, who was inspired to teach a course at Vonnegut College. Over the next few decades, Wyde interviewed Vonnegut and photographed him. And then wrote him a letter asking for permission to produce a bio-document for him. That engaged in the Indianapolis house he grew up in when he met again in grade 60. Weide and Vonnegut became so close that the director reluctantly felt the need to participate in his documentary. We see that Vonnegut reveals quite a bit about his childhood and military experiences.
After the war, he married, had three children, worked at GE. And while at GE Cat’s Cradle, wrote a novel that explicitly went against GE’s automation philosophy. We learn that Vonnegut’s mother committed suicide, that his brother was a highly influential atmospheric researcher. That he never forgot his sister’s death, that he accepted his four nieces and nephews. Who turned the house upside down as he struggled to gain a foothold in the sacred business. Dresden, on the other hand, was always hanging out throughout his adult life. It’s not something you just got rid of.
Weide interviewed Vonnegut’s children and four nephews:
Who is arranged on the big sofa? Interestingly, everyone calls him “Kurt”, not “Dad”. They are afraid of him. He tends to think and write, think and write, and do unfinished business. His daughters envied the dog because Vonnegut rolled gently on the floor with him. When, after countless seizures and false starts. He finally found a way to write about Dresden. It became Five Slaughterhouse in 1969. Which quickly catapulted him to fame and fortune – and then he left his wife for a woman who was younger and moving on to celebrity in New Life York.
Instead, we see Vonnegut, a gentle soul smoking with chains, a kind madman, a hilarious man, a lover who calls Willow and tells him she misses him, or congratulates him on his success and says he loves her. We heard the cassette. Vaide saves him. Of course, you saved him. And Willow assures us that the feelings are mutual.
This documentary takes its title from the opening line of Slaughterhouse-Five, whose protagonist is in a story that is fragmented and scattered and confident when Vonnegut intervenes. It took a lot of effort for him to fix his great novel, and it took Willow nearly four decades and put himself into the story to finish his damn movie (with the help of co-director Don Argot, who we probably didn’t see) because out of sight, we can’t be sure). Unstuck in Time is a bit incomplete and narrative tense. Weide occasionally points out his construction stitches, but with good reason because it reflects Vonnegut’s masterpiece appropriately. Sometimes we hear Vonnegut sound as if he’s alive, and he sure looks alive even when our logical brain knows he’s not.
This is how the mind works, you know.
The way we remember things is not linear. Surrender, if you will, but we are all torn apart in Time.
Weide wasn’t afraid of a complete portrait of Vonnegut, who wasn’t always a worthy person, at least from someone else’s point of view. The film is very close to Vonnegut, close enough to hug him, but he always feels candid. There’s a lot of great stuff here: digging deeper into how it works, the famous Five Slaughterhouse line that repeats every Time someone dies.
Analysis of Vonnegut’s alter ego, Kilgore Trout, a wise novelist, appears in many books. How the Vonnegut brothers put out old home movies for use here – and how our director became Vonnegut’s unofficial archiver. This film is outstanding in concept and performance. It’s a deep dive into the minds of the beautiful Americans who can love and be loved and how we can all be extraordinary and inadequate.