John Malkovich's New Film Is Coming Out in 2115

"Life is short; art endures" — As art time capsules proliferate, who is deciding what constitutes art worth saving for later?

“Vita brevis, ars longa.” Hippocrates’ famous aphorism — “Life is short; art endures” — is often taken as a reminder of art’s ability to outlive those who create it. We are contained and constricted by time, but our sculptures, our novels, our films even, have the ability to remain. If you are John Malkovich and Robert Rodriguez, though, you don’t look at Hippocrates’ line as a promise, but as a premise.

Their new film, aptly titled 100 Years, has just been stowed away in a special time-locked safe that won’t open again until November 18, 2115. It may very well be the first film created with full knowledge that it won’t see the light of day during the lifetime of any of those involved. The entire enterprise has been funded by Louis XIII Cognac, a brand of liquor that is aged over 100 years. In the words of Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis, the brand “sought to create a proactive piece of art that explores the dynamic relationship of the past, present and future.”

The 100 Years project forces us to ask questions about who and what decides what art is and how and if it will endure. In fact, the rhetoric of the project revolves around a false equivalence: “The movie was inspired,” we are told, “by the legacy of craftsmanship and time it takes to create Louis XIII Cognac, which is one of the most luxurious spirits in the world.” And yet, the logical fallacy is self-evident here; the film will not indeed take 100 years to be create; it will only take 100 years to be screened.

Compare this to another high-profile time capsule project that began last year: the Future Library Project where “a forest has been planted in Norway, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 100 years' time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114.” Margaret Atwood, known for her dystopian novels, was the first author to contribute to the project.

Novelist David Mitchell, selected this year to submit a work to the Library, put it in words that echo Hippocrates: “Contributing and belonging to a narrative arc longer than your own lifespan is good for your soul.”

The Norwegian project understands itself as constantly changing and is in itself an ongoing curating process, one that will only come to fruition by the collaborative work ahead of those living in the future. In contrast, Malkovich’s film will be screened for a select few who will have inherited their tickets (1,000 “influential individuals” were given out invitations for the 2115 premiere). Perhaps it is in that way the 100 Years project best encapsulates our present: it is, if nothing else, a perfectly executed marketing strategy for a luxury brand — what passes now, it seems, for art for the ages.

[PHOTO: John Sciulli/Getty Images]


Manuel is an NYC-based writer interested in all things media and pop culture. He's a regular contributor to The Film Experience and Remezcla. His work has been featured in Mic News, Film Comment, and Model View Culture. He also has a PhD but hates bragging about it.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less