Configuring as what I’m considering one of the best movies of 2014 and a very interesting experience to cinema as a whole, Richard Linklater movie is cinema at it’s core: time. Capturing the characters for 12 years is not just a gimmick to market the film, or a backdrop to the develop the characters, time is the essential trait for the movie that has life as the main actor.
In this sense I’m reminded of Proust when he conceives the notion of the photographer in that passage of The Guermantes Way, where, after a long absence, the narrator enters, unannounced, the living room of his grandmother:
I was in the room, or rather I was not yet in the room since she was not aware of my presence. … Of myself . . . there was present only the witness, the observer with a hat and traveling coat, the stranger who does not belong to the house, the photographer who has called to take a photograph of places which one will never see again. The process that mechanically occurred in my eyes when I caught sight of my grandmother was indeed a photograph. We never see the people who are dear to us save in the animated system, the perpetual motion of our incessant love for them, which before allowing the images that their faces present to reach us catches them in its vortex, flings them back upon the idea that we have always had of them, makes them adhere to it, coincide with it. How, since into the forehead, the cheeks of my grandmother had been accustomed to read all the most delicate, the most permanent qualities of her mind; how, since every casual glance is an act of necromancy, each face that we love a mirror of the past, how could I have failed to overlook what in her had become dulled and changed, seeing that in the most trivial spectacles of our daily life our eye, charged with thought, neglects, as would a classical tragedy, every image that does not assist the action of the play and retains only those that may help to make its purpose intelligible. … I, for whom my grandmother was still myself, I who had never seen her save in my own soul, always at the same place in the past, through the transparent sheets of contiguous, overlapping memories, suddenly in our drawing room which formed part of a new world, that of time, saw, sitting on the sofa, beneath the lamp, red-faced, heavy and common, sick, lost in thought, following the lines of a book with eyes that seemed hardly sane, a dejected old woman whom I did not know.
Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, pp. 814-15. (Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff.)