TIME: What can watching a sloth tell us about time and our own surroundings?
Emma Bakkevik
Emma Bakkevik is a translator and freelance writer. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: December 15, 2019
Now, At Last!
Country: UK

They say patience is a virtue, and you would think to watch a sloth do next to nothing for 40 minutes would really put your patience to the test. Turns out, the film Now, At Last! is a poetic and medidative journey where time becomes irrelevant. Very little action, but all the more meaning. Shot in black and white, the calming jungle sounds are only interrupted by a comic colour pattern and the tunes of «Unchained Melody». Generally, we’re watching the sloth sleeping, staring into space, and occasionally continuing its unbelievably slow upside-down stroll along the trunk of a tree. It really seems to have all the time in the world.

Modern Times Review spoke to British director Ben Rivers at Porto Post Doc and asked how he came up with the idea for the film. «A sloth is a classic example of an animal who has been named based on human characteristics. But a sloth isn’t lazy, that’s just us putting ourselves at the centre, as always, and putting our own time onto it. Actually it has found a successful way of living, which has its own innate sense of time,» he explained.

A filmmaker has the advantage in that they can determine what their audience gets to see. When you leave the cinema, you are never the same person as when you entered. Just like sound waves moving molecules, the images influence your mind. Similarly, the more we talk about something, the more we manifest it. The more attention we give it, the more real it gets. The debates about whether artificial intelligence, for example, is the solution or the problem, are necessary enough, but the more we write and talk about them, the more they inevitably come into existence. By allowing this subject to fill the slots on the telly and the newspaper columns, it is already invading our lives – simply because we can’t seem to stop talking about it. But what about putting a sloth on the screen? Is it a statement?

Mindfulness means giving our immediate surroundings the amount …

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