Prime Time follows a group of older gay men as they journey on a cruise ship around the Caribbean. Members of a social network of so-called ‘Prime Timers’, they regularly get together on excursions of this type, to renew acquaintances, re-affirm the bonds of belonging to a supportive community, and rekindle a little itch of adventure. As the pleasure boat cruises from port to port, the unvanishing line of the horizon doubles as a metaphor for the never-ending churn of desire (always re-forming, always out of reach), while the vessel itself, with its cargo of temporary travellers, reminds us how random connections bring people closer, or keep them apart. Whitecaps ripple the surface of the sea, as the engines grind below decks. And the real subject of Crosse’s film slowly emerges, in the shape of another old man, namely Time itself. Or, to put it another way, Prime Time begs the question: when are we properly in the prime of our lives? In the flush of youth, with its energy and potential; or, later on, blessed with the maturity and experience of age? In this, the body of the cruise ship (the splendidly named ‘Celebrity Reflection’), sleek, buff, pristine, contrasts unmistakably with the lived-in bodies of many of the passengers onboard. Deftly captured by Crosse’s oblique yet tender eye, the film is an affectionate study of human hopes and relationships, and a resonant meditation on how we both measure and deny the passing of time.
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, with Grundy Art Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England.