“Sooner or later
the exact measurement of our time
and we’ll be on the ship that’s bound
for the bitterest shore. (II, 9)
Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe.
Carlo Rovelli on The Order of Time (youtube)
“For centuries, as long as travel was on horseback, on foot, or in carriages, there was no reason to synchronize clocks between one place and another. There was good reason for not doing so. Midday is, by definition, when the sun is at its highest. Every city and village had a sundial that registered the moment the sun was at its midpoint, allowing the clock on the bell tower to be regulated with it, for all to see.
But the sun does not reach midday at the same moment in Lecce as it does in Venice, or in Florence, or in Turin, because the sun moves from east to west. and for centuries the clocks in Venice were a good half hour ahead of those in Turin. Every small village had its own peculiar “hour.” A train station in Paris kept its own hour, a little behind the rest of the city, as a kind of courtesy toward travelers running late.
timespace coordinates: 18th century Europe / America
An Entertainment for Angels, rather than for Men, one observer called electricity, and it proved to be the most significant scientific discovery of the Enlightenment. Lecturers attracted huge audiences who marveled at sparkling fountains, flaming drinks, pirouetting dancers, and electrified boys. Flamboyant experimenters made chains of soldiers leap into the air, while wealthy women titillated their admirers with a sensational electric kiss. Optimists predicted that this strange power of nature would cure illnesses, improve crop production, even bring the dead back to life. An Entertainment for Angels tells the story of how electricity charged the eighteenth-century imagination. With contemporary illustrations and engaging prose, Patricia Fara vividly portrays the struggles to understand the unusual and exciting effects that electrical experiments were producing. (goodreads)
The Gleaners and I (French: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse; “The gleaners and the female gleaner”, a reference to the director herself) is a 2000 French documentary film by Agnès Varda that features various kinds of gleaning. It was entered into competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival (“Official Selection 2000”), and later went on to win awards around the world. In a 2014 Sight and Sound poll, film critics voted The Gleaners and I the eighth best documentary film of all time. In 2016, the film appeared at No. 99 on BBC’s list of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century. / Cinematic significance (wiki)
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales… is a 2017 French/Belgian animated anthology comedy film directed by Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, adapted from Renner’s own comic books The Big Bad Fox and Un bébé à livrer. Originally conceived as half-hour TV specials, the three segments are linked together by a frame narrative. (wiki)
timespace coordinates: 1900 – 1916 England / Battle of the Somme
Tolkien is a 2019 American biographical drama film directed by Dome Karukoski. It is about the early life of English professor J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as notable academic works. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, and Derek Jacobi. (wiki)