How to Build a Time Machine – Director, Jay Cheel

How many of you have seen the classic 1960 film The Time Machine based on the H. G. Wells novel? Well the star of this documentary has and could not get it out of his mind. Not all documentaries are serious, depressing stories of politics gone wrong, disaster or social inequity. Some are fun and this one counts in that latter category. Rob Niosi is an animator but also an amateur craftsman who decides he wants to recreate the time machine from the movie in his basement. He has all the tools he thinks and figures it will take him 2-3 months. Some several years later he is still working on what can only be called work of art. The film follows his efforts to build the various components and the new skills he needs to learn in working with wood, metal, and fabric as his dream comes together. In parallel we follow Ron Mallet a theoretical physicist who lost his father to a heart attack when he was very young. He has, since the age of 8, wanted to build a time machine to travel back and warn his father and hopefully save his life. This dream leads him to become a physicist and to study time and space. He is actually one who believes time travel in some sense is possible and is working on the relation between black holes and their connection to time travel. The two time enthusiasts know each other through the film and come together when Rob Niosi is ready to unveil his machine. The event is a party at Niosi’s home and all the guests are required to dress in Victorian costume. It is wonderful event and the two principles of the movie are charming and interesting. You learn a lot about craftsmanship and physics in a relaxing and entertaining way. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see it.