In The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli lays out in a wonderfully poetic way how time isn’t real, at least not in the rigid, ordered way we perceive it. It is more complex, more fluid, based more on relationships and interactions than on some objective, universal clockwork ticking its way through eternity. Time moves differently depending on where you are, how you’re moving, and myriad other factors. On a more elementary level than that, time might not exist at all.

I was reminded of that book while watching Yutaro KUBO’s 00:08. The title makes clear that this is a film about time, although as KUBO clarifies, it’s “about expansion and enlargement, not the passage of time.” 00:08 doesn’t set out to capture a moment. It’s there to expand on a moment, and in a way, to frustrate the idea of moments at all.

The film starts with a casual sip of coffee, a sketch of a mundane reality rendered in a loose, gestural approach. A simple, descending score matches the action through its clear, repeatable pattern. A few cycles in, and the loop starts to distort, at first in subtle ways, made more obvious by stutters in the score, but the brief stretches and holds quickly morph to something else altogether.

Sometimes it’s glimpses of playful characters that vaguely recall Ryan Larkin’s Street Musique. Others, it’s into pure abstractions, or faces and figures that disappear as quickly as they emerge. It builds in energy and momentum, cycling through a staggering range of ideas and influences, reaching a frantic crescendo of pure colour and shape

Despite the everyday setting of its introductory loop, every frame and every moment contains an infinity of possibilities. There are no restrictions beyond the imagination; space and time are squashed and stretched, blurred and transformed, reconfigured on a whim and then pieced back together as if nothing happened. In KUBO’s hands, eight seconds can be eight seconds. Or it can be something bigger, something packed with colour and motion and wonder. There’s nothing fixed about it, only the luxury of pure potential.


dir: Yutaro KUBO

syn: This piece takes 8 seconds, and creates intervals between the frames, and then makes them bigger. It’s about expansion and enlargement, not the passage of time. 8 seconds becomes that much more luxuriant.

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