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Time Talk: Interview with Xavier Samuel and Cris Jones


TIME TALK: Actor Xavier Samuel & director Cris Jones unpack their odd new film The Death & Life of Otto Bloom.

In The Death & Life of Otto Bloom Xavier Samuel plays a man with a peculiar affliction. Young, handsome and enigmatic, he attracts the attention of a doctor with his bizarre claim that he experiences life in reverse.

That is, he remembers the future, but not the past. Though he ages normally, he sees time backwards.

Not surprisingly, writer/director Cris Jones (a Brit-born Sydney-sider) admits his cast did occasionally come up to him asking for help in getting their minds around the abstract concept behind his debut feature film.

At 32, Samuel boasts an impressive CV that mixes Australian films – The Loved Ones; Newcastle; A Few Best Men; September; Bait; Healing – with a dose of high-profile international films, including: Love & Friendship; Anonymous; Fury and Twilight: Eclipse.

Otto Bloom takes to the stage to deliver a timely message.

Otto Bloom takes to the stage to deliver a timely message

So why sign up for such a small, odd film? For Samuel, the decision was easy. He simply found the film’s complex concept compelling.

The film is structured as a faux-documentary in the style of Woody Allen’s 1983 classic Zelig. In a novel piece of casting, it stars Rachel Ward (aka Mrs Bryan Brown) as Ada and Ward’s daughter Matilda Brown as the younger version of her character.

In this lively interview Jones and Samuel discuss the film, their relationship to time and the influences behind the movie, which include the cryptic reference emblazooned on the shirt Cris Jones is wearing.

Across it – as you will see – is the word ‘Tralfamadore’. This is the name of the alien planet featured in Kurt Vonnegut’s classic anti-war novel Slaughterhouse 5. The inhabitants of this planet experience time all at once. 

Please enjoy.

*The Life & Death of Otto Bloom opens the Melbourne International Film Festival 7pm Thursday 28 July at Hamer Hall and screens 11am Saturday 13 August at the Kino.

For MIFF info visit:

To watch the interview, please click here:

Otto Bloom takes to the stage to deliver a timely message.

To view a trailer for the film, click here: