“Time is a a long string of nows that stops abruptly at the present,” says a disembodied voice at the start of this tripped-out short from filmmaker Matthew Beck. “It is always now.” And so begins an eerie, transfixing look at our city.
The film, entitled NYC // on the issue of time, features silent, slowed-down shots of various New York locales and the people who inhabit them. We see New Yorkers looking over their shoulders, some looking frightened, others showing expressions of love. We see an old man filling out a crossword puzzle on the subway and a young woman grimacing as she crosses the street. Everything is accompanied by two narrators who nonchalantly muse on the passing of time and “the relentless process of entropy, of decay, of increasing randomness.” It’s heavy stuff.
The narration, apparently lifted from a 1973 educational film, underscores the feeling of insignificance and anonymity that can come along with living in a big, crowded city. But the visuals themselves, often featuring grinning teenagers and swooning couples in love, bring to mind everything that’s to love about New York.