There is exactely enough time
Oskar Salomonowitz, the twelve-year-old son of the filmmakers Anja Salomonowitz and Virgil Widrich, had already drawn 206 pictures for a flip book when he died in an accident. An irrational end that his father opposed with a small, but logical continuation. (Diagonale 2021)
This film is at once both playful and very sad. It sustains a balance between these two poles. This is exactly what lends the film its depth. It conveys nothing less than an intimation of how closely joy and loss are experienced.
The "content" of the film comes to terms with this simultaneity of absence and presence.
The facts: 12-year-old Oskar was killed in an accident. Oskar was the son of the film director. He left a partially completed flip-book in the wake of his passing. As explained in the opening titles, his father picks up where the son left off and completes the work. All the images of the film are informed by this harrowing information. The film begins and ends with a live-action recording of an empty page on an animation board, with eraser and pencil. Whose view is this? Is it a subtle reference to the first illustrator? His view of the drawing board? His gaze upon the work space? Many such traces are found throughout the film.
The animation film narrates the dynamic back and forth of a battle between two figures (Red and Blue). The bottom left-hand margin shows penciled page numbers ticking off like a timer. At page 206, the film shifts back to a live-action sequence. A hand puts a new page in place, the second illustrator takes over. The drawing style changes. The page numbers initially continue going up, but soon run backwards to end at a dramatically charged zero. Did Red have just enough time to save himself? Reality answers without mercy. In closing, the work space is seen, this time with two pencils – that of father and son. The name "Oskar" can be read on the red pencil. A collaboration by father and son. How infinitely hard this labor of mourning must have been. (Birgit Flos)
Translation: Eve Heller