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Killing Time

A Film by Ijsbrand van Veelen

film still Does time exist? Is our perception of the world different from its true reality? Is our concept of time fundamentally flawed? These are the central questions raised by KILLING TIME, a provocative documentary that explores the nature of time.

The film centers on the work of Julian Barbour, a prominent Theoretical Physicist, who gained notoriety with the publication of his landmark book, "The End of Time" (1999). In it, Barbour presents the concept of time as a human construct, not as a separately existing dimension.

In a series of interviews, using nothing more than a Polaroid to snap random pictures, Barbour illustrates the development of his radical theory. He explains that physics has always been grounded in Sir Isaac Newton's conception of time as an invisible river that exists and flows independently of the objects in the world.

However, through his work with collaborator Bruno Bertotti, and his own attempts to reconcile the conflict between Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Barbour came to the conclusion that Newton was wrong.

Barbour posits that time is, in fact, an illusion - a measure imposed on the world by humanity. He explains this with the concept of a 'now', which he describes as a snapshot in time - a completely frozen, self-contained instant (much like a Polaroid photograph). Time is simply the measure of the space between two separate and unrelated 'nows.'

Barbour concludes by constructing a 3-dimensional model of eternity, using it to show how the past, the future (in the traditional linear sense), and countless other possibilities, are all present and occurring at once.

Fascinating and thought- provoking, KILLING TIME is an elucidation of Barbour's controversial theories on time, and a radical rethinking of our accepted notion of the world in which we live.

"An intriguing look at one of the most fundamental issues of physics: the nature of time."—Science Books & Films

"Highly Recommended! Well conceived and beautifully shot... fascinating and provocative! Presents Barbour's thinking in his own clearly elucidated words...with wit and flowing style. Multiple exposures, slow motion, and other time-altering visual devices successfully enhance Barbour's ideas in a fresh and distinctive manner without disrupting the information presented."—Educational Media Reviews Online

** Eadweard Muybridge Award, 2000 Dutch International Film Festival
** Prix du Magazine, Image et Science, 2000 International Television Science Programme Festival (Paris)
** Premio Arte, 2000 Teleciencia - Scientific Film Festival (Portugal)
** Bronze Dragon, 2000 Beijng International Scientific Film Festival (China)
** 2002 Society for Cinema Studies Conference Film Festival

30 minutes / color / 2000
Sale/video: $225
Rental/video: $60


Subject areas: Cultural Studies, High School Use, Philosophy, Science and Technology, Time

Related Titles:

Scientists at the Rim of Reality: The filmmaker, who used to work at the CERN laboratory, returns for an update on his former colleagues' quest to find the Higgs boson and understand the universal laws of physics.

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Last updated 01/05/2007