Timekeepers of Eternity: A Thrilling Movie Experiment

The Timekeepers of Eternity is made up entirely of footage from 1995's TV movie/miniseries The Langoliers. But far from being a fan edit, The Timekeepers of Eternity is a stunningly original work. Filmmaker Aristotelis Maragkos made the film by printing every frame of The Langoliers onto paper, allowing him to create bold new images and edits from the existing movie. 

The plot, based on a short story by Stephen King, remains the same. We meet several characters taking a red-eye flight from LAX to Boston as they arrive at the airport and board. Shortly after boarding, they fall asleep and wake up to find their fellow passengers have disappeared. 

After landing at a Maine airport, the characters theorize they traveled through a rip in time and exist in the past. But, unfortunately, this past differs from anything conceived in other time travel fiction; it's a past empty of all life and time itself. And to make things worse, one of the passengers becomes violent in desperation, and another can hear something threatening that's growing ever closer. 

As with many Stephen King adaptations, there are fascinating concepts, significant dread, and many outright thrilling sequences. And of course, some credit goes to original director Tom Holland, who also directed the first Chucky movie. But the real star of The Timekeepers of Eternity is the form. 

Images rip through one another throughout the film. Maragkos is incredibly creative with his collage work. He creates shots that mimic images generally achieved through double exposure by overlaying different pieces of paper; sometimes only two, sometimes up to five or six. 

Similarly, Maragkos uses the collage format to develop new split-screen sequences. And it's even more impressive that these techniques tie into the film's world at moments when distraught businessman Craig Toomey (Bronson Pinchot) rips sheets of paper. 

Function Following Form

More simply than these edits, sometimes, during moments of great drama, the frame's paper will wrinkle at the edges. And sometimes, the frames will fully disappear as a sheet is entirely crumpled. 

It's truly as if Maragkos and his collaborators brainstormed every possible image and edit to push the form of film to the max. As a result, much of The Timekeepers of Eternity is genuinely jaw-dropping in its creativity. 

The film's greatest trick is that the form doesn't distract from the narrative and instead enhances the intellectual and emotional impact in several ways. 

The collage format allows parts of pictures to remain unmoving, quite literally stuck in time, while other aspects move on. Paper rips can create rips in time as they take us forward and backward, sometimes simultaneously. 

As the film continues, we learn of Toomey's intrusive thoughts of an abusive father. These thoughts (shown as flashbacks in the original) intrude on the world of the film as Toomey grows more anxious. They tear through the fabric of his reality, literally ripping apart his world and sometimes even his head. 

When the story reaches its climax, the form does too. Throughout the film, The Timekeepers of Eternity used images from The Langoliers, but this changes in the film's final moments. 

It's genuinely awe-inspiring for a movie, especially one that barely cracks an hour, to continue to push itself further at nearly every step. And this finale sequence makes for a truly disturbing climax that was not available in the original film. 

The Timekeepers of Eternity is equally thrilling for its story and unique form and perhaps most exciting as a piece of art because of the fantastic way it combines the two. You genuinely need to see this film to believe it.

The film is currently playing the festival circuit.

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Featured Image Credit: Aristotelis Maragkos.