The Clock

Spent two and a half hours this afternoon mesmerised by The Clock, screening at ACMI til March 11. This video compilation was made back in 2010.  The experience of literally watching time pass (as in seeing the hands of clocks and watches clicking over the hour), being so conscious of time passing  (being reminded every minute of what time it is while watching), yet feeling a sense of timelessness, is unique. It’s somewhat surreal. The montages are blended into each other so beautifully.  The word ‘segue’ (insert own accent), if it hadn’t already existed, would have needed to have been coined to describe this cinematic installation: a masterpiece of around 1440 segues.  The Clock gives us scene and sound editing at their very most excellent.

I’ve been advised not to use words like ‘gleeful’ in reviews or essays. But seeing this video montage is a gleeful experience. There’s glee in correctly guessing which scene will come up at 5 pm in The Clock (yes, you know it), and in recognising forgotten scenes from so many movies you’ve seen.

If you read Patrick Susskind’s Perfume, you’ll go about telling people that you’ll never take your sense of smell for granted again. You become olfactorarily sensitive as a result of reading this novel, at least for a while. Watching The Clock (ho ho) makes you conscious of time in a similar way, you develop a temporal acuity.  I’ll be looking out for clocks and watches in everything I see on screen from now on. And how they’re used in the story. There are clocks a plenty in train stations, offices, bars, hotel lobbies, and on bedside tables. Big Ben comes up over and over. Many many watches, usually on wrists but not always, plenty are smashed on the ground.

Time constraints create strong stakes in stories. Time is something we think we never have enough of, our small anxieties about not having enough time in our daily lives in our busy culture is a ruse we have created to avoid thinking about how little time we have in life, anyhow. We’ll be dead soon. Speaking of which, Jade of Death is a web series on YouTube by Aussie chick Erin Good about a young woman with a sinister superpower. If you could discover the time of your death, would you? It’s a stylish goody.

Am going back to ACMI tomorrow to sit and gaze at The Clock, or at least the hours outside 2pm til 5 pm. Watching it put me in a cheerful mood. Something to do with being reminded of the shared experience of cinema, I guess.

Other things to notice: lots of white people, not so many brown. Many more men than women. Quelle surprise. Whose stories are deemed important? But hey, times are changing…


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