Fantasia Festival 2021- Junta Yamaguchi’s “Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes”: Film Review

If you could see two minutes into the future, what would you do? That’s the simple question presented in Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes. When coffee shop owner, Kato (Kazunari Tosa) returns to his upstairs apartment after a tiring day at work, he is baffled to find a future version of himself talking to him through his television screen. The self described Time TV, which is downstairs in the coffee shop, is on a 120 second delay meaning that Kato can essentially see 2 minutes into the future.

What begins as a quirky novelty quickly morphs into a cosmic conundrum, as the number of Kato’s acquaintances and the quantity of television screens grow. See, Kato and his friends can look into the future in the apartment, but they then have to run downstairs into the coffee shop to make sure that the future they saw comes to fruition. The premise can be tricky to follow at times, but essentially, in mere minutes the film destroys the concept of the present, transforming it into a product of the future and past intertwining with one another.

The future is built on top of history.

Kato (Kazunari Tosa)

The group never takes a second to relish in the present. Instead, they either look to the future for satisfaction, or reminisce about the past. If they stopped trying to make the future on the Time TV a reality for just a moment, the cycle would end. However, the allure of knowing one’s destiny, even if it means being trapped in a perpetual prison, is too strong for many.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes may be simple in its presentation. The film only uses one location and the visual style is certainly low budget, given that it was shot entirely on an iPhone. Yet Yamaguchi has taken an fun thought experiment and transformed it into the most spellbinding, entertaining, science fiction film of the year. What Back to the Future did for time travel flicks, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes has done for the time loop subgenre, and that’s honestly the highest kind of praise from this reviewer.

The Silver Lining

The use of the one shot (one continuous take for the entire film) makes the film’s message work on a meta level as well as in a narrative sense. The oner removes any obvious cuts, forcing the film to continue at a breakneck pace. The audience is purposely never given the chance to relish in a certain scene as they are prodded towards subsequent bursts of action. Similarly, the characters don’t consider living in the moment; they are merely slaves to the future. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes‘ usage of the oner transcends its gimmick and truly fits into the premise of the film.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes had its North American premiere at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival and will release later this year.

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