On its surface, Garrett Bradley’s “Time” asks a simple question: How can you convey the full length of 21 years in the span of a single film, let alone a documentary that runs just 81 minutes?
From its degraded opening images — borrowed from the first of a thousand video messages that a Louisiana woman named Sibil Fox Richardson (aka “Fox Rich”) recorded for her husband as she waited for him to be released from the state penitentiary — “Time” offers a similarly simple answer: You don’t measure it in length, but rather in loss.
Swirled together from 18 years’ worth of MiniDV tapes (in addition to the newer, more pristine footage the filmmaker shot of Fox and her family before that incredible treasure trove of home video was dumped in her lap), Bradley’s monumental and enormously moving “Time” doesn’t juxtapose the pain of yesterday against the hope of tomorrow so much as it insists upon a perpetual now.
While the documentary never reduces its subjects to mere symbols of the oppression they represent — the film couldn’t be more personal, and it builds to a moment of such unvarnished intimacy that you can hardly believe what you’re watching — Bradley’s Tralfamadorian editing flattens time in a way that contextualizes mass incarceration on the largest of continuums.
“Time” recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Read the story at IndieWire.
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