Thursday, January 10, 2013

#878. Chronos (1985)

Directed By: Ron Fricke

Tag line: "A Visual and Musical Journey through Time"

Trivia: The title of this film comes from the Ancient Greek word for "Time"

Filled with stunning imagery, Chronos, a 1985 film produced exclusively for IMAX theaters, must have been a sight to behold in its original large-screen format. But I gotta tell you, it looks pretty damn impressive on a small screen, too.

Directed by Ron Fricke, whose time-lapse photography was one of the highlights of 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi, Chronos takes us on a spectacular world tour, revealing the wonders of nature (such as Utah’s Monument Valley) as well as the majesty of some of man’s finest accomplishments (everything from the Great Pyramids to the Statue of Liberty). With music composed by Michael Stearns, who would also contribute to 1992’s Baraka, Chronos is a visual feast from start to finish.

There’s no plot to speak of in Chronos, nor is there dialogue of any kind, yet crammed into its abbreviated 43-minute run time are visions of our world that tell a thrilling story all their own. The initial scenes take us to such picturesque locales as Lake Powell in Arizona and the Grand Canyon, showing us the earth as it’s looked for millions of years. Then, all at once, we’re shuttled off to England, where we’re treated to a magnificent view of the clouds flying over Stonehenge. Each and every sequences presented in Chronos is breathtaking, yet my favorite is set inside the Vatican, where beams of light, stretching from the ceiling all the way down to the floor, slowly make their way from one side of the structure to the other.

While films like Chronos can sometimes leave me cold (I liked both Koyaanisqatsi and its sequel, Powaqqatsi, yet wasn’t particularly moved by either), the many incredible images on display in this motion picture had me positively awe-struck. I’ll admit that, as I was watching the movie, I felt a bit envious of those who got to view it in its original IMAX format, but no matter; Chronos is a film worth seeing on any size screen.

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