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IFFBoston ’12 Review: Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film is a love letter to instant photography. What seems to have started as an extended eulogy to the medium, the film evolves from various Polaroid Photographers talking about their love for Polaroid, to a chronicle of the efforts to save it from fading away forever.

Interviewing Polaroid artists, and former employees of the company, we get a great sense of the passion these people had for Polaroid and their cameras. Rather than constantly cutting between various voices, director Grant Hamilton stays with each interviewee, giving every single person ample time to reflect on, when they started using it, why they love it, and how the medium disappearing effects them.

The drawback to telling the story this way, many of the speakers echo/repeat the thoughts of others. But it is clear that the film began as a collection of voices. But as Hamilton revealed during the IFFBoston Q&A, as the closing of the plants neared, the “Impossible Project,” began. He does an amazing job capturing the grass-root efforts to keep the format alive. People truly working against all odds, all to save their format of choice.

We learn quite a bit about Dr. Edwin Land, the inventor of Polaroid instant photography. I would have loved to learn more about the company and its corporate history, but again, the film is more about the enthusiasts and artists that love Polaroid photography.

I really enjoyed the film, it’s always amazing to see how passionate people are about the photo-chemical process. Polaroid being an even more unique part of that tangible, printed photo world.

If you’re a fan of Polaroid, or even someone who has a love of photography, and preservation of the photo-chemical way – you will definitely enjoy this love letter to an art that almost went away.

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