During a recent roundtable interview for his new thriller movie, Old, Split director M. Night Shyamalan discussed how the upcoming film reflects current times. He says the premise of a family trapped together on a supernatural beach holds some striking parallels with the world’s experience with Covid-19.
Based on Pierre Oscar Lévy’s and Frederik Peeters’ graphic novel Sandcastle, Old is a movie about a family vacation turned into an existential nightmare. Trapped on a beach where time is accelerated, the character’s watch their lives slip away as they try desperately to escape their situation. When asked about the similarities between the family’s contained experience in the movie and the 2020 lockdowns, Shyamalan commented on how the pandemic exposed human’s unhealthy relationship with time.
“I think the pandemic has forced us to slow down, and made us aware of how fast we were going and not being present. It has almost forced us to be present for a second,” he explained. “What feels so uncomfortable is us letting go of our toxic ways of not being present, and it’s shocking, you know. It’s shocking to the system, and it’s uncomfortable.”
The director describes how Old reflects the fresh perspective that quarantine offered during the global health crisis. “To some extent, the characters and the movie realise that no matter what speed time is going, if you are with your loved ones, you’re ok. And we all felt that a little bit,” the director said. “Those of us that couldn’t be with our loved ones realised how important it was, and those of us that were with our loved ones realised that we pretty much had everything that we need.”
Old is a timely piece of cinema that focuses on universal human experiences at its core. Shyamalan has previously stated how proud he is of the representation in the movie, and how it is a feature that transcends location and culture.