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Chronos (1985)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 10 May 1985 (USA)
Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.



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Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

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Release Date:

10 May 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Хронос  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Composer Michael Stearns used an instrument called the Beam to generate many of the sounds for this film, which is 12 feet long made of extruded aluminum with 24 piano strings from 19-22 gauge. The original instruments it was based upon were made from cast iron and difficult to move around. See more »


Referenced in Silicon Valley Timelapse (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Seen it before.....
9 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

Ron Fricke's directorial debut, is a mixed bag. While visually stunning and musically haughty, this is nothing new for this type of genre. The genre being the silent-mentary (a film with no dialog that evokes a story or meaning using only images, still and moving, and sounds).

One might remember Ron from his work on Koyaanisqatsi. He was the cinematographer on that movie (also had some writing credits). If one looks closely, you will find similarities in the looks of both movies. There is a repetition of the Grand Canyon fly over and one cityscape scene (done from mostly ground level, where there is a metal sculpture in front of a lit office building at night, with two lit buildings on each side, looking upwards). While there are similarities, there are also major differences between the two.

The differences come from the directors. Koyaanisqatsi (and the other two movies in the trilogy : Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi) flowed from the creative collaboration of Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass. They imbued their movie with meaning, by combining images and music. The two elements intertwining to the point where you could not separate them. Whatever the "meaning" was left up to the viewer. They could range from "deep rooted messages" to "there was no message at all".

Unfortunately, Ron's directorial debut isn't as good. He definitely does not have a Philip Glass to work with and it shows. One of the weaker elements is the music. The score is symphonic and works well generally, but is very generic sounding. There is very little about it that makes one stir (unless you got a cold draft coming in through the window and someone happens to scratch a blackboard at the same time). The visuals suffer as well. There seems to be little connection between the various places we are shown. Is there a reason we are shown this place or that place in particular ? Hard to tell. It feels more like a guided bus tour, than anything with substance behind it. Ron also seems to overdo the time lapse portions. He uses it in almost every scene. He also seems to have a fascination with the phases of the sun and the movement of sunlight during the course of a day.

Don't misinterpret my critique as dislike. On the contrary, the movie has its merits and its moments. My favorite being the rise of the moon over a city at night, with the fly over and drive through ensuing at blazing fast speeds. I would have probably been better served if I had seen this movie before Reggio's trilogy. It is not as good, but its short length and beautiful imagery is definitely worth a look.

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