CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER
Documentary
United States | 2016 | 104 min | English | Doug Nichol
Review: Glenn Blomfield

As I type this, I type with admiration, because I absolutely adored this documentary.

I just love the nostalgia and the philosophy from a story of a bygone era, especially that of the humble typewriter. This documentary is slick, it maintains a tidy production, its glossy cinematography portrays to the viewer, that feeling of hope – yes, there is still life in the trusty ol’ typewriter.

Even now as I type this review, I feel connected. I have the yearning feeling of fingers ‘punching away’ from the mechanical process of the typewriter; that love affair you get from the process of being engaged in the physical side of writing.

As you watch the documentary, you will hear things, along the lines, “Tactile experience – percussion to its process…”. As we live in a modern digital world, computers, have taken over, the personal contact is absent, typing is auto-corrected, saved or lost to a hard drive.

As we live in a modern digital world, computers, have taken over, the personal contact is absent, typing is auto-corrected, saved or lost to a hard drive.

California Typewriter’s title comes from the name of a typewriter repair shop, the focal of this amazing story and central to the documentary. The place barely survives, but as this film shows, there is always hope.

The movie includes interviews with famous celebrities that love their typewriter; people such as Tom Hanks, shows off his impressive collection, singer/songwriter John Mayer, choosing to write with a typewriter because of its immediate ‘connection.’

You hear from a well-known playwright, there’s even a fascinating sculpture artist that uses typewriter parts to make incredibly detailed works of art.

I really enjoyed this film, it’s one of those films that holds your attention from start to finish – a real marvel to behold.


Doc Edge screens the best international and homegrown documentaries from 10 – 21 May in Wellington, and 24 May – 5 June in Auckland. For more info check out docedge.nz

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