Although it seems that everyone you see walking around today has a smartphone or tablet in hand, thumb-tapping away at their messages and online chat sessions, there are people who prefer to use a typewriter to write letters to their friends, and to create works of fiction or nonfiction, plays and poetry, that will be published. The art of using a typewriter is still alive and well, even if it has been overshadowed by the super-fast connections that are possible with computer keyboards. Film director Christopher Lockett devoted an hour-long movie to the topic, featuring interviews and discussions with authors who use typewriters, typewriter repairmen, and even some teenagers who appreciate the old-school feel of the instrument. “The Typewriter (in the 21st Century)” is a movie that might not make it out of the independent art-film theatres, but anyone interested in the subject will enjoy Lockett’s look at the history and current state of typing.
In an interview published in the Los Angeles Downtown News, Lockett talked about his low-budget but high-quality film, comparing using a typewriter to riding a bicycle. According to Lockett, when you use a typewriter it might not be the most efficient way of getting text down on paper, but it’s the experience that counts. “It’s about enjoying the ride,” he commented.
Reviewers have pointed out that Lockett does not include people like deadline-driven advertisers or screenwriters who rely on the keyboard shortcuts of a word processing document to keep pace with the demands of their job. But perhaps that’s the point of the film – looking at ways to slow down and enjoy the process of typing and writing, using the typewriter to connect to words in a different way.
If you’re interested in watching the film, it’s available for free on the Hulu video stream. Viewers in the United States can click here to enjoy Lockett’s documentary, “The Typewriter (in the 21st Century).”
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