Movie Time

Zadie Smith reviews Christian Marclay's The Clock, a "twenty-four-hour movie that tells the time […] by editing together clips of movies in which clocks appear." Smith notes the telltale consistencies:

Staged time obeys certain conventions. Afternoon sex is the sexiest, probably because it often involves prostitutes. Between four and five o’clock transport is significant: trains, cars, and airplanes. If the phone rings after one in the morning do not expect good news. Cuckoo clocks, no matter when they chime, are almost always ominous. When Orson Welles says what time it is, it lends the hour an epic sound. At twoAM everyone’s lonely.

… Marclay has made, in essence, a sort of homemade Web engine that collates and cross-references an extraordinary amount of different kinds of information: scenes that have clocks, scenes with clocks in classrooms, with clocks in bars, Johnny Depp films with clocks, women with clocks, children with clocks, clocks on planes, and so on, and so on, and so on. You’re never bored—you haven’t time to be.