That’s Our Time screened at PanicFest 2023
“I guess, er, disconnected,” says Danny (Marque Richardson) right at the start of Alex Backes’ That’s Our Time, his very words wrenched, at least initially, from their context. This is how much of this short film is structured, as we see fragments of Danny’s working day, without quite getting the full picture or even having much idea what he is doing. All that is clear is that he is always on the clock, as his wristwatch’s alarm keeps urgently beeping.
Time is of the essence in this short film. Indeed Danny sees life itself as being something like a short film: over before it has barely even got started, and therefore empty, alienating or, in a word, disconnected. In fact Danny’s opening words were addressed to Dr Dana Miller (Debra Wilson), a kindly psychiatrist with whom he is discussing his particular difficulty forming meaningful relationships with other people, even though this session itself – empathetic, engaged, even flirtatious – seems to belie his claims. Here too, however, the clock is ticking, and their conversation must and will soon be over.
Backes’ short, co-written with Josh Callahan, takes and uses its brief appointed time to depict something all at once banal and profound, funny and sad, about the human condition, through two very nuanced and charming performances. Of course, to appreciate its message and meaning fully, you will have to wait till the bitter end, which may be too late…
strap: Alex Backes’ short film shows a haunted man trying to explain his sense of human disconnection to a psychiatrist in limited time
© Anton Bitel