The faux documentary Confessions of a Time Traveler opens with a series of news reports about a mysterious man named Sebastian who, upon being arrested for stealing food, claimed to be from the year 3036. He also explained that he didn’t know what stealing was because, in 3036, no one uses money. Not surprisingly, this makes national news because — well, it’s not like there’s anything else going on right now that journalist might be reporting on. I mean, 2020 has been a pretty slow news year, right?
The authorities are perplexed to discover that there are no records of Sebastian’s life. Up until the moment that he got arrested, he might as well have not even existed. Sebastian says that’s because he hasn’t even been born yet. Could he be telling the truth?
Confessions of a Time Traveler purports to be a series of interviews with Sebastian, who wears sun glasses, a mask, and a hoodie. Sebastian doesn’t seem to be particularly enthused about being stuck in the 21st Century. In fact, his attitude is rotten. Well, you know what, buddy? If you don’t like it here, go back to your own time! Oh wait, you can’t. We haven’t invited time travel yet and by the time we do, Sebastian will probably be dead. Oh well, sucks to be him.
Sebastian talks a little bit about what life is like in the future and guess what? None of it is good news. Apparently, we’re all screwed. Of course, I’m writing this in 2020 so it’s not like I’m going to be around in 3036 so at least I won’t have to deal with all of the radiation that Sebastian says has caused everyone to lose their hair.
Sebastian informs us that World War III will be between the U.S., Russia, the China, and EU. (Though Sebastian doesn’t confirm it, I bet the EU was the first to surrender.) He also says that there’s going to be a vaccine war and that billions will die when they refuse to take a vaccine. People are going to end up living underneath cities, in abandoned tunnel systems. They’ll be called beneathers and none of them will live past the age of 40. Personally, if I was known as being a “beneather,” I would probably die of shame too.
One thing I’ve noticed about time travelers is that they never seem to bring good news. I mean, seriously — how depressing is the future that every time traveler who visits our age just wants to talk about pollution and war all the time? I think some of it is our fault for enabling them. Instead of changing the topic by asking something like, “So, what movie won Best Picture in 3035?,” we’re always demanding information about everything that’s gone wrong with the world. We’re gluttons for bad time travel news. What I always wonder is how — with the world apparently in such shambles — people managed to discover the secrets of time travel in the first place. It seems like that would take a lot of effort and some serious concentration. Could you concentrate while living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape?
As for Confessions of a Time Traveler, it’s a 36-minute short film that comes to us disguised as a documentary. Personally, I appreciated the efforts to which the film went to appear to be a legitimate documentary. Much like Orson Welles convincing listeners that the Martians had landed, Confessions of a Time Traveler attempts to convince the gullible that Sebastian actually is from 3036. I’m sure that there are some people who will watch Confessons and totally miss the fact that it’s not a real documentary and who will think that it’s an actual interview with someone who claims to be from 3036. Let’s face it, some people are easily fooled and that’s a timeless truth. Confession of a Time Traveler certainly understands this and it uses our curiosity and anxiety about the future to its own advantage. After years of hearing about how society’s on the verge of collapsing, there’s something satisfying about watching something like this and discovering that society actually did collapse. It’s like, “Finally! We got something right!”
The film ends with the hint of a sequel or, at the very least, an expansion on the original short film. I imagine that I’d probably watch a follow-up. I mean, who knows what the future may hold, right?