The Camera Synopsis

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The story begins with a young man who comes home from film school for his father’s funeral. Michael Miller’s dad took his son to the cinema from the time he could walk, they made home movies together and shared a love of movie making. This relationship is suddenly severed and Michael is in limbo, unable to move forward without his best friend at his side. He returns to a part-time job at a local camera store he had during high school, biding his time until he can figure out what to do with his life.

One afternoon, while digging through his father’s trunk in the attic, Michael discovers an unfamiliar camera and a bundle of old letters his father had written to his mother as a young man on a wanderlust vacation in Europe, dreaming of becoming a filmmaker. Encouraged by his family to return to school, Michael first decides to take a walk in his father’s footsteps. He wants to see the places described in the letters and experience first-hand the journey his father embarked on more than twenty years earlier. In particular, he hopes to meet a French filmmaker his father encountered during that trip and with whom he traded cine cameras in a Parisian café. One of the letters describes an intense conversation with the filmmaker over the inseparable connection between life and art.

All that Michael has to go on are the letters, the name of the café and a pair of initials carved inside the camera’s case. He flies to Paris and begins his sojourn, tracing every step described in the letters. He goes to the café, only to learn it’s been closed for a decade. Disappointed, he begins the next leg of his journey and travels south to the various towns and villages his father visited, settling in a remote hamlet that time seems to have forgotten. Here, he encounters a cast of characters who all play a role in his development as an artist. They are colorful souls, all hiding secrets of their own that have kept them from achieving their dreams. He befriends a French screenwriter in hiding, falls in love for the first time with a beautiful French girl, discovers the world’s first storytellers in local cave carvings and slowly begins to put the pieces of his life back together.

But nothing comes easily and the obstacles in Michael’s way are many. The ultimate lesson he must learn is that to gain an understanding and move on, he must first find the courage to say goodbye to his childhood and to a father who left too soon. The story unfolds through the lenses of various cameras, including the one his father traded for on his journey all those years ago. Michael films his quest and through it all, the possibilities of cinema come alive and his wound eventually heals, but not before a few surprises. In the end, the footage Michael gathers opens the door back into the world. He returns home to Chicago, his life forever changed.

The Camera is the story of an undying love between a father and son; it’s a journey of discovery and redemption. Above all, it’s a universal tale, filled with laughter and tears, heartache and joy. It encompasses the reason we go to the movies—to get lost in a journey that with the blink of an eye could easily be our very own. If only for a couple of hours.