James Franco’s NYU-driven project succeeds in capturing life of subject

By Anubhuti Kumar
Via Indiewire
Via Indiewire

 

“The Color of Time” follows the life of Pulitzer Prize winning poet CK Williams. Named after a collection of the poet’s works, the film is a deep and interesting look into his history and inspirations. Its seems like a risky experiment, being directed by 12 relatively novice NYU filmmaking graduates, but the end product can definitely be called a success. The film stars James Franco as CK Williams, Mila Kunis as his wife, Jessica Chastain as his mother and Zach Braff as an old friend.

The use of CK Williams’ own poetry as the way to move through the distinct phases of his life demonstrates the skill and thoughtfulness of the screenwriters. It serves to provide some very startling insight into the poetry along with the poet, as it is woven through the film in the form of mostly voice-over during poignant scenes. Anybody unfamiliar with this poet and his work might want to brush up before venturing into this film, but either way it is a touching tribute to CK Williams and his contribution to American poetry.

Franco, himself a former student and professor at NYU, collected 12 of his former students to direct this film, and despite the prospect of conflict between twelve different directors and ideas, “Time” manages to succeed. The storytelling and the depiction of the poet’s journey is seamless and easy to follow — and intriguing as well.

From looking at his relationship with his parents to his relationship with his wife and son, “The Color of Time” is a dramatic and insightful look into the workings of CK Williams’ mind and the events that inspired his poetry. Franco seems to only amplify the feeling that the audience is watching a reel of Williams’ personal memories rather than an interpretation with his very believable performance. The use of the camera also exemplifies this idea with a presentation that is reminiscent of a home movie at some points.

With touching and realistic performances all around, “The Color of Time” is definitely a must-see. Whether or not you’re well-versed in the poetry of CK Williams, the film is an interesting look into the mind of an artist and will give the audience a better, deeper understanding and appreciation of his life and work.

Anubhuti Kumar is a contributing writer. Email her at film@nyunews.com.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on filmaffection 🎬 and commented:
    Interesting, wasn’t aware that James Franco was once a teacher

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