History of the World in 8 Minutes

Official Selection: New Directors/New Films Festival, Torino International Film Festival and New York Stories, Metro TV

I wanted: to make a short film that would be engaging, illuminating and meaningful. I was fascinated by how the veracity and depth of any event seemed to change depending on when the observer entered the event. Consequently, understanding any historical event is entirely affected by understanding the history that led up to it.

A multicultural street corner in New York City near Chinatown is the stage for the History of the World in 8 Minutes” — A violent argument between a black policeman and a white homeless person sets off the reactions, comments and interpretation of the event by an eclectic group of people who witness it. Each of them has their own version of the “truth” of the event depending on when they each witnessed it.

Call it “Rashomon in Miniature.” Like that Kurosawa classic of relative reality
perspectives, Loren-Paul Caplin’s grimly ironic “History of the World in 8 Minutes”
shows that nothing is as clear as it can sometimes seem to be. A Homeless Man and a
Cop are tussling on a nameless street corner in New York City. Caplin intercuts this
struggle with snippets of conversation between the various neighborhood people who
witnessed the brawl. Each has a different perception of the event. One saw the cop attack
the man. A second saw the man spit on the cop before the attack. Still a third recalls the
cop being abusive toward the man, who then spit on the cop, who then tried to make the
arrest and so on. As this debate occurs, the struggle between the combatants resumes…
and escalates until both are in mortal danger. They reach out to the civilians, who are o
intent on debating and assigning blame for the dispute in the first place, they fail to heed
their subjects’ desperate pleas for help. “History of the World…” is definitely a wake –up
call. Yet although the film offers up some wryly ironic social commentary, I’m not quite
certain how ell these particular events sere as its grandiose title’ metaphor. Less a world
history and more an ode to humanity’s self-centered obliviousness, ‘History of the World
in 8 Minutes” Is definitely a thought provoking film either way. -FILM THREAT

This film sardonically examines historical revisionism and explores questions of guilt, responsibility, race, media images, and the elusive nature of the truth itself.

You can watch the film here: