Fantastic Fest 2021- “The Timekeepers of Eternity” and the Infinite Lifespan of Art: Film Review

It’s somewhat counterintuitive to review The Timekeepers of Eternity as any other film, given the unique nature of its production. Director Aristotelis Maragkos used all pre-recorded footage from the 1995 television adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, The Langoliers. Therefore, one can’t judge this remix’s use of cheesy, over-the-top actors.

However, from an experimental art point of view, The Timekeepers of Eternity is groundbreaking. Maragkos condensed the three hour slog of a miniseries into a tight 64 minutes of gradual tension and suspense. In all honesty, even an hour might be slightly too long to tell the relatively simple story of a isolated group of passengers getting stuck in a mostly uneventful time abnormality. His decision to make the film monochromatic eliminates the yellowish hues and substandard lighting that befell the original and. In fact, the combination of the runtime, score, and B&W cinematography gives The Timekeepers of Eternity a Twilight Zone-esque quality to it.

That is, until you factor in Maragkos’ use of visual effects. Once the passengers become lost in time, the cinematic image itself gets crumpled, ripped, and pasted onto one another. It gives the impression that time is literally ripping at the seams due to the passengers presence there. This scrapbook-like technique is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, with each individual shot seemingly taking a crew hours to develop on post production software. However, it’s even more impressive than that as Maragkos single-handedly printed each individual frame, manipulated it by hand, and then rephotographed it. The painstaking effort in this method pays off in dividends as it harks back to the experimentation of George Méliès from cinema’s early 20th century infancy.

And then there are the Langoliers themselves. These monsters that are “purpose personified” were literal spheres of nothingness in the 1995 adaptation, created with visual effects that were laughable even when it initially aired. Here, Maragkos dramatically altered their appearance, turning them into creatures that actually were slightly unnerving.

The Timekeepers of Eternity is a shining example of the infinite creative lifespan of art. Here we have a made for television film that came and went with barely any fanfare, left to be discarded and forgotten. Yet Maragkos shows how reforming a work with a new set of tools can lead to revitalization. In a society where copyright laws bar creative experimentation for established features, Maragkos’ examines just how vital royality free media is to push the visual medium forward. The narrative of The Timekeepers of Eternity may suggest that we can never look back at our past, but the film itself demonstrates that as artists, we can always draw from the annals of history to create something extraordinary.

The Silver Lining

While I could go on about his amazing work, the best way to appreciate what Maragkos has achieved is to try and watch more than five minutes of The Langoliers (linked above) after watching The Timekeepers of Eternity. I promise that you’ll be more convinced of Maragkos’ genius than anything I could ever say.

The Timekeepers of Eternity is coming soon to a screen near you.


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