Documentarian Roger Nygard beams up from “Trekkies” to assemble an eclectic range of subjects, from poets to wrestlers to rabbis to scholars to scientists to consider the big “Why,” starting with the same question to each interview subject: “Why do we exist?” Nygard’s unpretentious approach makes “The Nature of Existence” less weighty than similar thinking-heads movies like James Toback’s “The Big Bang,” but also can feel like a 500-channels-but-nothing’s-on story. Less speed and more thought, a little dash of structure, might have tied the welter of opinions into something more than the intermittently engaging result on screen. Big questions sometimes yield only small answers. 94m. (Ray Pride)
“The Nature of Existence” opens Friday at Facets. Nygard will appear at all Saturday shows.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.