Perhaps the greatest trend involving filmmaking and creative ingenuity in recent memory is the pandemic-shot low-budget feature. Confined in various entrapped environments, it’s refreshing to see the amount of effort in which film-crews from around the world have committed to creating a safe work environment while simultaneously executing a faithful interpretation of their original scripted-text. Especially for micro budget features, with crew-mates who can barely afford the additional three-layered mask and sanitary latex gloves, just completing a fine-cut is a feat in & of itself. Quality features of these sorts range depending on the crew at hand, but for a film such as Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes — a high-concept genre film where the limitations of a low-budget could have easily diminished its high-brow time-travel recreations — the end product is essentially a miracle.
An ingenious science-fiction concept beautifully executed by the prowess of a committed team of dedicated screenwriters, and practical-effect connoisseurs, Junta Yamaguchi’s one-take time travel mind-bender utilises the most out of its limited equipment and cast of crazed characters. What’s most evident is the film’s suave camera movements that offer the viewer full exposure of the surrounding environment. Confined in a small cafe presumably located in a metropolitan Kyoto-based district, Yamaguchi’s flexibility with his iPhone-lensed cinematography opens a refreshing gate into his genre-defined world of time-loops and infinite paradoxes. There’s a kinetic core in nearly every scene, where even the inclusion of hyperactive digitally-employed zooms and hidden cuts aid the film’s naturalistic low-budget aesthetic.
Even as the film becomes even more ludicrous with its time travel logic and further exploitation of the ‘two minute’ pre-established rule, Yamaguchi never loses focus of the playful irony and upbeat semantics of the central scenario at hand. The characters are archetypes; simple caricatures that offer an easy gateway for an emotionally-palatable viewing experience. Don’t expect too much depth in Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ thematic explorations on futility and fate. Yamaguchi’s end goal is ultimately to entertain and enlighten; to offer its viewer with a unique cinematic fable that alters all predefined time-travel conventions.
For what it’s worth and what it specifically accomplishes, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a beguiling blast from start to finish. Keeping consistent with its own rules and time-geography throughout its short-lived 70 minute runtime, the end result of Yamaguchi’s time-alternating fantasy never once overstays its welcome. After watching Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes for the first time, many genre-devotees will eventually find excitement in Yamaguchi’s debut with multiple repeated viewing to come; hopefully for the rest of time itself.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes screened at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, as part of the Underground section.