One of the few things that we all share EXACTLY the same amount of in life…is time. It’s the great leveler that no matter how much money, power, fame, or ego one has, one can’t get more of it…or less for that matter. We all get the same 60 seconds in every minute. The same 60 minutes in every hour. And the same 24 hours in every day. Ponder that for a minute. But what we each do with time…now that’s the ticket that takes each of us on our own unique ride!
Filmmaker Joshua M Lambeth takes us on a short exploration of time with his short film aptly titled Time (2010). Inspired by Hans Zimmer’s incredible piece of movie score magic from the movie Inception (2010), Lambeth puts his awesome photographic skills and emotional editing finesse to work telling a finely crafted tale on how one photographer can spend a night playing with light and image…in time. Having recently met Lambeth while working on the crew of an independent TV show pilot named House Call shot in Phoenix, Arizona, I was immediately impressed by him right from the first instant. He’s a tall lanky guy whose presence and confidence behind the camera inspires the best in all those around him. But he can be goofy and funny too! It’s only a matter of time…pun intended…before Lambeth and his incredible filmmaking talents are put to use in Hollywood on feature films…probably with Hans Zimmer asking to write the score to his visuals, instead of the reverse as was done here.
What I love about the short film Time is how emotionally poignant the imagery matches and builds upon Zimmer’s emotional build-up in his music. Granted, I’m very partial to Zimmer’s music and especially his new track “Time”. It’s probably my favorite piece of movie score music from the last 10 years. So obviously Zimmer’s music is the star of this attraction, and without it (or something equally as powerful), Time would probably just pass me by. But Lambeth did an excellent job of catching my imagination for a few moments and making me look at the subtle little things that are out there in our everyday environment that keep track of time. From the opening shot of an airplane taking off, to water bubbling in a fountain, to a light rail train making its umpteenth stop along its track as an observer watches, Time interprets the themes and ideas in Zimmer’s music beautifully. While our perception of time is constantly in flux, time itself is always rhythmically beating away one click at a time…and Lambeth captures that in his work here.
I think part of what really works in Time is the choice of black & white over color photography. Again, time being so simple really in concept, the best way to break it down into its most basic elements and communicate it, seems to be with the use of black and white. We easily get distracted by color, but the use of black & white keeps us focused on time itself. And by blurring much of the imagery to where it’s just various dots of light blinking or flashing, time is emphasized on its most basic level almost like ones and zeroes in binary code. On…Off…Black…White….Dark….Light. Time manages to measure time go by. Lambeth’s black and white photography reminds me of one of the most incredible uses of black & white in film I’ve ever seen, in the movie Tetro (2009). Check that film out for black & white photographic eye candy galore!
I’ve written before in my blog about the artistic and practical importance of short films and their comeback because of the internet (specifically through YouTube), using Australian short film Clearing The Air (2009) as an example. Lambeth does the same thing in Time…he uses just 5 minutes to capture our attention and show us what he can do with a camera and some time on his hands. One could argue that this film is really just a music video. And that’s true. It’s a tribute to and interpretation of Zimmer’s movie music. But Lambeth’s also telling a story without words, using only images and music for his palette. At it’s core, Time is a short film made by a young filmmaker full of promise and incredible passion for his work. I look forward to seeing Lambeth’s future work and hopefully many years of collaboration with him as a fellow filmmaker. This guy is definitely one to watch.