Chronos: An Unforgettable Masterpiece
On a cold, wet Tuesday evening, I made the decision to rewatch Ron Fricke’s Chronos, as it had been quite a while since I had seen it last. Upon this viewing of Chronos, I was seemingly taken into the movie on a deeper level from when I had last seen it. It seemed that I had gained a deeper understanding of what this film truly means, and what it represents in terms of our views on civilization and the natural world.
Firstly, this film has a very different feel to it than Ron Fricke’s other films, such as Baraka and Samsara. The atmosphere in this film is one that focuses on the progression of time, instead of the eternal beauty of the natural world. This film is quite focused on the grandeur, as well as the never-ending patterns that we find within man-made civilization. In contrast to similar films, this film focuses on the beauty that we create, rather than the beauty that we can find around us in nature.
The soundtrack of Chronos consists of one continuous piece composed by Michael Stearns that covers the entire 42 minute length of the film. I feel as if the piece that was used for this film could not have fit the film in any better way. The film speeds up with fast paced shots of the modern era at times in which the music is pumping out velocity-intensive piano pieces, but then abruptly returns to the serene, relaxing, atmospheric tone of pre-history and the ancient eras of civilization. The filming is quite obviously pieced together to fit with the atmosphere of the music piece itself. However, this cutting is done in a masterful way that leaves the watcher in imaginative suspense of what is to come next.
The overall theme of Chronos, in comparison to Ron Fricke’s other films is the passing of time within the civilized world. Within this film, one will always be able to tell which era these shots are attempting to display. However, in similar films such as Baraka and Samsara, the viewer is often left in a state of timeless unknowing. Chronos transports us through the 12,000 years of human civilization in a way that brings the viewer directly into the world which the cinematography is conveying. The viewer will often feel as if he or she is being teleported between these different eras through the course of human civilization. The idea that Ron Fricke is conveying within this film is the speeding up of humanity and progress as time goes on. We can see this through the slow moving timelapse shots that are showing the ancient eras, while gradually speeding up to fast-paced timelapses of human organization within the modern era.
In conclusion, Ron Fricke’s Chronos is a forgotten masterpiece within the genre of un-narrated documentaries. This is a film that can be watched over and over again, and it’s mystical cinematography will never cease to amaze. The themes and points of view that are expressed within Chronos have deep meaning, as well as great food for thought and expansion. Overall, this film is beautifully crafted with gorgeous shots that will leave the viewer in a state of feeling as if he or she has been transported through the different eras of human civilization.