Film Maudit 2.0 (2022) with "The Timekeepers of Eternity"
Do you believe in Bronson Pinchot?
In the least hyperbolic and most genuine of attitudes, allow me to state that The Timekeepers of Eternity is the second-best animated film of 2021, right behind The Mitchells vs. The Machines. It may not seem obvious at first, as it opens with an introduction to a character played by the previously and presently whacky Bronson Pinchot which, going into the movie knowing next to nothing, threw me for a loop. This can’t be an “original” work, right?
Aristotelis Maragkos has re-edited the mid-90s television miniseries The Langoliers, which has attained immortality through Youtube and various gifs in the years since its initial broadcast, mostly for everything involving the performance and the plot around Pinchot. Having only seen this version of the story, I can only imagine how out of place he may have been before. Here, for Maragkos, Pinchot is the key to the whole thing. He’s the focus of this cut and the new nexus that the whole story now flows through, and in only a bit over an hour of duration.
Pinchot, with awfully over-the-top writing and an insanely coked-out backstory by one Stephen King (thank you, sir), knows exactly how unhinged to go, and how he’s being presented as being. Timekeepers matches and expands his energy, treating it with the seriousness and urgency of a nightmare, though it’s clear that when it was filmed, Pinchot had a sharp awareness for how weird and manic he took his role of Craig Toomey, an unstable businessman heading to Boston for an important meeting. He’s the perfect Stephen King actor, and a brilliant force for Maragkos to snip his scissors around.
This film is animated. How? By printing each frame of the new edit on black & white paper, manipulating and tearing the material here and there, and recording in a stop-motion style. This makes for an incredibly textured watch, most literally. The ripples on the paper pop in and out as if film grain. The tears are strategically torn around and into the characters and their environment, telling a story of their own and in sync/in juxtaposition with the movie proper. Timekeepers is a work not unlike those by Bill Morrison and Jodie Mack, who both tend to deal with repurposing things into a new kind of context and life. Where Maragkos differs slightly is that he’s repurposing something that’s been recontextualized once over already.
Clips from the original Langoliers exist mostly as memes now, and mostly of Bronson Pinchot’s Toomey. There’s irony in “liking” Langoliers as a campy and bonkers show and a strange but fascinating appreciation for actually liking it. However one feels, Maragkos turns all of it into horror in the vein of the terror-scape that is the film Begotten, only he chooses not to go silently. How could he when he’s got a voice like Pinchot to work with?
In no way is Timekeepers a mockery of memery, but rather a revelation of it, going further than most. Maragkos has made tangible that something special about Langoliers, flipped through it, and found just what about it that can attack and pierce through hearts. It would be funny if it weren’t so terrifying and uncomfortable. It would be ripe for more memes if it weren’t so truly artistic. It would be dismissed if it weren’t so original.
Frankly, The Timekeepers of Eternity is ridicule proof. Love it and love it.
The Timekeepers of Eternity screened at Film Maudit 2.0.
Sincerely Yours in Moviegoing,
Also referencing memes: