Monday, October 17, 2016

KAFFNY ’16: Time Agent (short)

For his line of work, being aloof and anti-social is actually a prime qualification. He has come from the future to subtly undermine the relationships the parents of future mass murderers, forcing them to break up before they tragically procreate. Of course, it is imperative he not interact with others while he is secretly living in our current time-span. Ordinarily that is not a problem, but one mistake leads to complications even he could not foresee in Jude Chun’s short film The Time Agent, which screens during the 2016 Third Culture Korean American Film Festival New York.

To break-up currently happily married couples due to have monstrous children, he mostly does little things, like leaving the toilet seat up. It is not just one thing—it is the cumulative effect that really matters. Frankly, these scenes are rather disturbingly convincing. However, while walking home from a day of minor mischief making, the Agent interrupts a possible suicide on the bridge. Rather annoyed by his squirrely behavior, Moon Yeesul decides not to jump.

Did he just change the future? To limit the potential damage, the Agent invites her to stay in his Spartan flat while he investigates what her previous future fate. Yet, much to his surprise, he quickly finds he quite enjoys her company.

Much like Richie Mehta’s I’ll Follow You Down, Time Agent focuses more on the emotional implications of time travel than special effects or huge history-altering time ripples. Frankly, it turns out to be shockingly poignant, bringing together two lost lonely souls, while dangling a Damocles Sword over their ambiguously budding relationship.

Essentially a two-hander, Time Agent features two extraordinarily subtle and agonizingly restrained performances from Choi Gwui-woong as the Agent and Jeon Young-hee as Moon. You will be hard pressed to see better work in any recent science fiction feature.

Chun helms the terrific duo with a remarkably sensitive touch. However, his conception of time travel also gives viewers food for thought. Tonally and thematically, it is sort of like a cross between Paris, Texas and Doctor Who, which you do not see too often. Highly recommended, Time Agent screens this Friday (10/21) as part of the Shorts Two program at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn—and remember you can get 15% off tickets with the “jbpins” promo code.