You were so close. This works:
my $year = (localtime((stat($file)))) + 1900;
The basic idea is that to take an indexed item from the result of a function that returns a list, is to wrap the function call in extra parens. Like this:
my $sixth = (foo(@args));
Alternatively, you can wrap it in an anonymous array, too:
my $sixth = [foo(@args)]->;
The arrow is not optional.
So, this will work, too:
my $year = [localtime([stat($file)]->)]-> + 1900;
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