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Film Review: Timecode


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Juanjo Giménez's Academy Award-nominated short proves to be a rare treat in the art of cunningly composed visual storytelling.

Uniqueness is a concept that grows increasingly barren in the more forthright and readily accessible facets of the film industry, year on year. All the while, the world of short-film remains unabashedly immune to such an ailment and Juanjo Giménez's Timecode showcases precisely why it is in no danger of becoming susceptible anytime soon. 

Set to a beautifully understated recurring acoustic score by Iván Céster, the film depicts the typically bleak working lives of two car park security guards; Luna and Diego. With an establishing shot as ostensibly ambiguous as its title, it comes across consummately reserved in its approach to their combined narrative throughout the majority of its duration.

Giménez has accomplished quite a feat here, in taking a typically lonely, monotonous and boring profession and creating such a whimsically humorous piece of performance art out of it, that lies somewhere in between the more eccentric areas of the Nouvelle Vague, a Wong Kar-wai romance, and a certain Spike Jonze-directed music video.

It's a film where the genius lies in the potent aspects of its composition. The use of the car park's security cameras as both; an all encompassing catalyst - a la Andrea Arnold's Red Road - but more precisely, as an evocatively simplistic yet innovative method for its two leads to build an intriguing unspoken relationship, entirely separate from their usual pleasantries. 

The subtlety with which this exchange unfolds is tantamount to the increasingly engaging qualities the short develops. Set in motion by a seemingly innocuous phone call, leading to an initial slight towards the true nature of the film, this ulterior bond between Luna and Diego blossoms shift by shift, via the most idiosyncratic of means. Yet neither of them deign to acknowledge such events when they come face to face at each shift changeover until the time comes for Giménez to toy with our emotions.

Whether it was the director's intention or not, Timecode stands as an expositional manifestation of its characters' exhaustion towards the meniality of their work, in tandem with a prevalently synchronised expression of freedom, aided by its minimalist yet progressively complex choreography. Each time, displayed through a frame traditionally synonymous with oppression and surveillance, adding yet another layer to this joyous jaunt of a film.

Timecode is nominated for the Best Short (Live Action) award at this year's Academy Awards, which will be held on 26th February. 

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