“The Republic” James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir

The Republic

Directed by James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Written by Robin Schavoir

Airing January 1 – 31, 2018

The Republic is a narrative with precedents set more by the philosophical thought experiments of Plato, More and other imagineers of Utopias than by drama or film. While there are characters and these characters have emotions and drives, and while there are funny and sad moments, the real preoccupation—the final overall image, in my opinion—is how a society is structured, and how that structure changes to accommodate new parts.

The society in question is comprised of old men who embody the values of liberalism to an almost perverse degree. These “citizens” (as they refer to themselves), are Beings with an unyielding drive for that situation which most of us claim to want: FREEDOM. Their freedom, affected by time and nature like creases in a piece of driftwood, is reduced simply to freedom from intrusion by another body. For this tiny kernel of space, they have developed an entire system of habits, bureaucracy, and reams and reams of self-documentation.

And it is from this basic atomic condition that the entire plot and dialogue of The Republic has been generated. It’s my hope that it will be viewed (understood) in this way. It is a piece of particulate idealist philosophy that does not need to to be enjoyed like a story, or even an experimental film for that matter. Also, it should be viewed in a pitch black room with a glass of diluted ruby red wine.

—Robin Schavoir, writer

A NOTE ON FORM AND EXPERIENCE

Approaching The Republic is probably a matter of perspective. First, deciding whether it is a movie, a reading of an impossible-to-produce screenplay, an amalgam of audiovisual experiments, or whether any of this matters. It’s been designed to be as easily streamed on a mobile device as projected widescreen in a cinema. It is the closest we could conceive of an ideal form that still satisfies certain appetites.

 

From a technical perspective, it’s been directed as a camera-less movie which equalizes perspectives. Each of the performers were recorded separately and edited together. The sound effects are electroacoustical stand-ins rather than field recordings, and the final piece has been mixed in mono using automatic mixing algorithms developed by Eugene Wasserman.

 

When playing The Republic, it’s recommend to refer to the “playbill” (cast list and synopses), like being at an opera. Also, an illustrated screenplay is available here to supplement the experience of a movie that doesn’t quite exist.
—James N. Kienitz Wilkins, director/editor