Carly Chaikin’s doing just fine. She’s been on a couple of popular TV shows, “Suburgatory” and “Mr. Robot.” She’s a writer and a producer. She’s got great friends. In a business where survival is success, she’s thriving.
Still, she sees struggles all around her. Parallels between the miniature world of insects and the universe of dating, marriage, and the larger human condition? Chaikin thinks so. She chose “Survival of the Fittest” as the theme of her short list.
“Survival of the fittest is such a true thing,” she says. “I think it used to be [thought of] in regards to life or death. I think now it applies to us in our day to day life, in our jobs, in our relationships, and in our emotional existence.”
Entering her late 20s, Chaikin sees struggles in her friends’ relationships. Many of them are getting married, but one recently called off a wedding days before the scheduled ceremony.
It’s not exactly the “Four Weddings and a Funeral” scenario, where the wedding is called off during the ceremony, but it left her imagining the last-minute realization she was making a mistake. What would she do in the same scenario? Fight or flight? That’s why she chose the film for her list.
“I have no idea what I would do. Hopefully you’re never in that situation,” she muses. On the other hand, “leaving someone at the altar is so unacceptable. I feel like there should be a law and they should be stoned to death,” She’s joking, she adds — at least about the stoning.
As strong as she feels about that, she would rather see a friend back out of a wedding than get into a bad marriage.
“As messed up as it can be sometimes, I always think that [calling off the wedding] is the right thing,” she says. “You shouldn’t make that commitment with someone to just end up getting divorced or living with them and being miserable.
“Because I always think when someone calls off the wedding, it’s the right thing to do.”
“Microcosmos” is a traditional nature documentary in some ways, where competition to survive and mate is a theme, but at a scale moviegoers have rarely seen at feature length. “I think it very much relates to the human world,” she says. “It’s just crazy how similar [insects] are to us with fear and the struggles and surviving.”
By her own description, Chaikin is “a talker,” so she appreciated that the documentary left some silences. “I love making my own commentary during films,” she says. “I was like, ‘Great! Now I can because I’m not talking over anyone!’”
To watch Carly Chaikin’s “Survival of the Fittest” films – “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “Microcosmos”* – as well as other movies like these, start your Tribeca Shortlist free, seven-day trial here.
*Titles subject to availability