When we make our personal lists of priorities during the years, we don’t always realize that making choices involves an unavoidable series of sacrifices. How many times are really important things pushed aside by our daily routines?
In light of this question, the decision to forget the oppression of a full agenda in order to save time for ourselves and our loved ones stops being eccentric or utopian and becomes a well constructed plan in order to simply live better. “All The Time In The World” is a documentary film by the Canadian director Suzanne Crocker and shows how one family escaped from so-called civilization. They chose to disconnect from an experimented mechanism, unconcerned of real personal and emotional needs, to reconnect with themselves and a different model of life.
“I was struggling to find balance in my own life, especially with respect to having undistracted time with my children while they were still young” Suzanne told us. After some unsatisfying attempts, they came to a solution. “We (my husband and I) decided we had to go out into nature, where we couldn’t be tempted by distractions, in order to get our priorities straight. So we left our jobs, pulled our kids from school and left the comforts of home to spend nine months living remotely in the wilderness of the Canadian North in a small cabin with no road access, no electricity, no running water, no internet and not a single watch or clock”.
Turning the experience into a film was a short step. “We set out on our journey for personal reasons, not to make a film. However, there was such curiosity from people who do not live in the North, about why we would do this and what it would look like, that I decided to document our personal journey with the camera so we could share the experience with others. Cinema is a very powerful mean to provoke thoughts. Cinema can take us on a journey, show us another perspective. That was my goal for All The Time In The World – to allow the audience to be a ‘fly on the wall’ and experience our journey vicariously. And then to come to their own conclusion. I didn’t want to tell people how to think or what to do. Most environmental films have a serious message behind them, but the environmental films I admire most are those that inspire, not depress”.
Thanks to its spontaneous style, which is partially due to the absence of an external crew, the documentary shows the consequences (hardly problem-free) of a life poor of modern, material comforts but rich in abilities and restored values. When the frozen river cuts the family off from the rest of the world during winter, when they have close encounters with bears and other wild animals as well as a few health problems, each became opportunities to test their skills as individuals and as a family. Eventually these same obstacles become precious moments, and they find it hard to abandon the bush by the end of the nine months.
“I wanted to create All The Time In The World in more of a cinema verité style – because I really wanted people to feel like they were there, on the journey with us. For a similar reason there is no classic narration – only small amounts of voice over recorded from interviews with us, both during and after the experience. The three children have a strong voice in the film and amazing insights. Children are less filtered when they speak, they tell it like they see it.”
Nevertheless, children are not the only main characters in the film, which has won several awards at many festivals belonging to the Green Film Network, including the Prémio Antropologia Ambiental at Cine’Eco 2015, the Audience Award at Cinema Planeta 2015 and the Green Screen Award at Planet in Focus 2014. In that part of the world covered with vegetation, an important feature of the film is the powerful, lush nature.
“It was important to me to capture the auditory, the visual and the psychological space that the experience of living the bush provides. Therefore I tried to create space in the film for natural sounds and images. I also wanted to capture the pace of living in the bush through the editing. In the Fall, when life still feels pretty hectic – getting our supplies to the bush and setting up for the winter – the pace of the film is faster. As the film journeys deeper into winter, the pace of the film slows – reflecting our own ability to slow down and be in the moment.”
By showing this deep connection, the film successfully teaches how motivated people do truly have All The Time In The World to be able to live life to its fullest.