Nothing is bound to keep a person awake and in a state of utter distraction like memories of lost love. Everything is a reminder: smells, clothing, texture, flavors, colors, and the most painful one, the self. Some disciplines, like music, end up becoming a part of a person more than any other companion can. The bad thing is, romantic relationships for many people can become the cornerstone of their life. That, with enough time, is definitely going to be a problem.
Characters like Adrian and Alicia are not uncommon. Age keeps trying to catch up, to defeat, and no critic is harder than oneself. Love and romance are hit hard by these factors, but as weak as they might be, a sudden surge of strength can overcome it anyday. These characters, led by a mysterious Bartender (maybe Cupid, maybe God) get a second chance at love, happiness and self-fulfillment. Even with sad stories behind them, art and empathy made them come back from a state of loss and lack of inspiration. Even being a very simple love story, Between Seconds knows how to teach about companionship and inspiration.
There was definitely someone caring about the visual aspect of the short. Jaenicke managed to create, in a careful pastiche of styles, a very vivid environment, tinted with the color of memories. Nostalgic where it needs to be, Between Seconds effortlessly takes the spectator to an abstract world, sad but hopeful, that everyone knows and everyone has visited. Living means suffering once or twice and the empathy of the viewers will be rewarded thoroughly at the end. If we are reflections of Alice and Adrian, there is hope for a happy life at the end of whichever tunnel we are stuck in. Memories, on the other hand, are represented sharp as knives, both visually and in the heart of the protagonist. Nothing can erase them, though. The past is a truth they must learn to live with instead of rejecting it like children. It is brave to move on.
In a piece so focused on music and musicians, it’s no wonder the soundtrack gives the perfect finishing touch. Even when tormented, Adrian’s music does not become wrathful, angry or out of tune. He can only transmit sadness and maybe tenderness, since fury arrives some time before misery. He has lost her, which, to the character of a romantic man means losing the most important part of himself. Musicians tend to be sensitive that way.
Time, even if it’s shown in a very literal way, is also used effectively as a dramatic tool. Pianos over silence, voices over silence, and the time these take to make the spectator understand and feel is not rushed. Slowness is encouraged and beautiful scenes can be accomplished when the filmmaker chooses to reduce the amount of useless information the viewer receives at any given time. The care with which the most sensitive moments of the short are stylized can submerge the viewer in memories that could be considered universal. Maybe the journey to the clock world is one that everybody needs to make.