Not all documentaries are created to highlight true events; some documentaries are meant to document timely concepts. “Confessions of a time traveler: The Man from 3036,” directed by Nostradamus Brothers and narrated by Jack Helms, lacks any evidentiary context but comments instead on the irreversible consequences of a modern era.
The faux documentary begins with a newsreel featuring a bald man, supposedly named Sebastian, who claims to be from the year 3036. Voiceovers from nameless and faceless news anchors question the authenticity of the man’s story and audience members feel a natural inclination to trust whatever source is about to be revealed simply because it’s “from the media.”
But very quickly, Sebastian’s claims about why the future is problematic and devastating causes viewers to think less about whether the man is really from the future and more deeply about modern history.
In the future, radiation and air quality is so bad from 5-G technology and the effects of World War III — fought among the U.S., China, the EU and Russia — everyone is bald and wears medical masks. There are no more houses, just pods that are magnetically sealed; and children are raised by artificial intelligent robots that monitor every aspect of their life until 16 — the legal age to mate.
Sebastian mentions a laundry lists of troubling, irreversible consequences of a time period referred to in the future as “the idiot era.”
What is most intriguing about the 37-minute long film is Sebastian’s unspoken insistence that now, during the idiot era, humanity is at its most free.
“These are considered the last days of freedom,” he says, “As simple-minded as your time period is, you’ve got it pretty good.”
The freedom he inadvertently refers to is the ability to think and act autonomously. In 3036, there are prohibitions on communicative technology (because of the radiation), limitations on sexual engagement (most likely for population control) and bans on all religions. Globally, there is one currency and no countries — only lands ruled by three major corporations. The message conveyed through these stark and starved images represent the result of a gluttonous era of self-centered exploitation.
“3036” also asks its viewers to think about their need to know truth. Lisa Marie Bowman comments on the stereotypical bleakness of the film, writing in a movie review, “… how depressing is the future that every time traveler who visits our age just wants to talk about pollution and war.”
Her comment is interesting because it contrasts every traditional idea about the future. In general, the future represents the coming of better times, technical and sometime social progression and transformation. But in 3036, there is only regression due to blind ambition and lack of self-awareness, Sebastian says.
Although these claims are farfetched and humoressly preposterous — given the fragility of Sebastian’s story and lack of substantial evidence supporting his time travel — presenting themselves as documented facts in some weird and illogical way solidifies them. The downfall witnessed in the 31st century seems to align itself almost exactly with the progression of the 21st century. It creates a parallel timeline that readers simply cannot ignore.