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All The Time In The World: A Documentary Film Worth Watching

July 27, 2015

I was fortunate enough to watch the documentary film All the Time in the World by Suzanne Crocker who, alongside husband Gerard and their three children (family pets too), took a rustic cabin in Yukon as their temporary home for the nine-month long winter. The film generously welcomes us to join the family as they discover their startling, exquisite new environment and learn about one another and themselves. If viewers are having an auspicious day, the documentary might offer them something new to learn about themselves too.                                                                                                                                                       

The documentary film was charming to watch: the three children supportively guided one another in tasks and hobbies despite their mother’s early concern that the children would struggle to get along. Indeed, one of the film’s highlights shows the three siblings excitedly circling the cottage on Halloween night: because there are no other houses in sight, the children repetitively knock on the cottage door and are delightedly greeted by a new surprise that their parents have prepared for them each time. Once again, we are reminded that no matter how repetitive our lives might feel we do not need to live out a monotonous existence. Somehow, just like Suzanne’s family comes to understand, we have it in us to gaze unfamiliarly at the familiar. On Halloween night, the children approach the familiar cottage door of their temporary home with caution and uncertainty each time they revisit it. They are unable to predict whether mom and dad will emanate good witches or transform into creatures ghoulishly wicked in much the same way the family cannot know whether the next step taken on melting ice will involve catastrophe or the progression of a journey. Somehow, the concept of revisiting the already familiar seems to resonate throughout the film: we are often treated to glimpses of the family bonding together over yet another new creative engagement (Kate excitedly ties the knot with Percy Jackson and the two unify through games and imagination). Creativity, we might say, is the family’s accomplice: the family tackle their tasks like artists which means even the simplest tasks have the ability to strike one as intensely complex.

But complexity, like simplicity, is expectant of the philosophical family we come to know and appreciate. We watch the film welcome viewers to ponder over the aesthetic brilliance of a small flower only to juxtapose this small image with the more massive view of a frosty winter landscape adorned by an imposing sunset. Both the flower and the winter landscape reveal equal complexity despite the apparent contrast in size but we might have missed this observation without Suzanne’s careful filmmaking that meticulously offers us a new view on what we believe we already know. The juxtaposition of Suzanne’s filmmaking often leaves us questioning whether it is justifiable to regard anything physically small as ‘small’. How can we when complexity in the film is an attribute of simplicity? The film, perceivably simplistic in its good-hearted family adventure, also deals with the poignant, necessary struggle of human life: can any family ever escape the concept of time? Perhaps not. However, immersing in the profoundly slow-paced world of wintry Yukon, Suzanne’s family shifted rather close to feeling no longer constrained by time. We can only assume Suzanne is trying to show us yet another alternate perception: this time, to the concept of time. Rather than fret about time, let us allow for charming seasons (perhaps even prolonged old man-winter) to misplace our clocks and watches and gift us with an optimistic perception to a perennial worry.

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