Thursday, 4 February 2010


Joseph Sapha is a non-descript young man who is somehow roped into a terrifying programme of constant scrutiny. CCTV cameras watch his every move; tannoyed voices shout instructions over the radio. Joseph is repeatedly put through brief experiments which ask him to watch videos of himself engaging in different activities, and is informed of his emotions at the time. As aspects of his psyche are exposed, we learn that Joseph is here by dint of his ability to see into the future. A group of parapsychologists presents their findings to nobody in particular, the boundaries of this experiment imperceptible to the audience. The project’s leader, Professor Zanov, is unrelentingly intrusive in his examination techniques, and his determination to essentially map out his subject’s brain soon pushes Joseph over the edge.

Both nightmarish and enchanting, Anti-Clock is a brave work, one of few films to actually explore the very concept of the future as part of the plot. Directors Jane Arden and Jack Bond appear to have had some prescience about the potential of surveillance – although CCTV was almost unheard of at the time of the film’s production, their prediction of a world where identity is under frequent risk of exposure seems to harmonise with most modern-day meditations on the same subject. Sadly, the film is largely inaccessible, employing parapsychological rhetoric and theatrically impassive performances to create a deliberately cold, uncaring feel. Anti-Clock should without a doubt be seen by more people, but perhaps mass exposure would violate the film’s message.

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