Chris Gallagher’s feature-length film essay Time Being is an elegant and thought-provoking investigation of the nature and experience of time, and its filmic representation. 88 one-minute shots or shot-sequences counterpoint a spoken commentary that probes and questions the subject from many different angles – psychological, philosophical, mechanical, cosmological, artistic. Equally, Gallagher combines aspects of different cinemas – documentary, structural, poetic, narrative, and personal – skillfully interweaving all the elements into a complex yet coherent and surprisingly moving statement on the human condition. The most brilliant film on its subject I’ve ever seen, Time Being is cool and non-academic yet deeply engaged, and beautifully shot. An educational film in the best sense.
We all have an intimate relationship with time, but when you try to picture it, what does Time look like? Our efforts to gauge and measure time’s physical properties reveal the limits of science and the reaches of creativity. Essentially 88 one-minute movies, Gallagher’s philosophically and formally adventurous Time Being fits in the tradition of essay films by European masters Chris Marker and Joris Ivens.
—Tom Charity, Vancouver International Film Centre
Humans have an innate, intuitive understanding of time acquired through experience, yet when one has to explain what time is, one is tangled in paradox and contradiction. Gallagher’s visually striking and engagingly written film tries to see the clock ticking in the movement of everyday things. Constructed of 88 short, arresting films each exactly the same length, Time Being subjectivity determines our perception of the duration of its parts. The structure of the film subverts conventional cinematic temporal expectations and gives rise to the perception of a continuous present tense.