A few years ago, we were treated to the beautiful Japanese film One Cut of the Dead, a little less than half of a one-take zombie film about a small film team producing a zombie film. It was one of those films where I thought I knew what would happen just to be shocked and delighted throughout. The spiritual sequel is Junta Yamaguchi’s Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a delightful one-shot time loop sci-fi played by the Fantasia Film Festival 2021. The Europe Kikaku theatrical company shot it totally on an iPhone. It has a great gimmick and makes the most of it.
The entire film is about economics. Space, premise, character, and time economy We meet Kato, a café owner and aspiring musician who has feelings for the woman who works in the adjacent business. He tells his employee to go upstairs to his flat, where things become strange. His computer monitor begins to converse with him. More precisely, he begins speaking to him. The other Kato informs him that he is speaking from two minutes in the future, while the TV in the café is gazing two minutes in the past in Kato’s room.
Kato, perplexed, then walks down to the café, the camera following him, and tells his previous self what he just heard his future self say. This is a strange event, and Kato would probably ignore it if all else were equal. However, his employee notices him and wants to test it out. Then other buddies stop by and want to give it a go. And things get a little out of hand.
The brilliance of Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is that it purposefully shows us, numerous times, what the two-minute time TV wormhole looks like in actuality. We follow the people as they rush between the flat and the café, and we witness some of the same discussions. However, this is done so that we can understand the internal logic. Then, when you think the gimmick is getting old, Yamaguchi turns it up a notch.
One of Kato’s buddies carries the monitor downstairs and positions it in front of the café television. This raises the bar; there are now three periods. And it isn’t the only twist we get, but I don’t want to ruin anything. It’s a clever premise that continues generating fresh twists and turns as these extremely entertaining people tamper with time’s constraints.
While later events feel a little more forced than others, the overall impact is still fantastic. At approximately 70 minutes, it pulls just enough out of the subject without going into too much detail. It also helps that the cast is all so endearing and likable. You’re curious to see what they’ll do and how they’ll get out of this strange scenario. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes has already been picked up by Canadian distributor Indiecan for North American distribution, and I’m hoping it makes its way to streaming soon. More people should watch what Fantasia described as “One Cut of the Dead meets Tenet.”