Following delicious micheladas at Casita del Campo, MCobraa and I geared up for our most adventurous event of the night: Christian Marclay’s The Clock. This visual artist created a 24-hour montage masterpiece, in which he sifts through over 100 years of cinema to locate exact mentions of time, extracts it out of context, and then chronologically edits it together, so that you see scenes of film flow in “real-time.” The passage of time is literally depicted on the big screen through over 1000 clips of cinema. For example, at 10:04PM, we were treated to a scene from Back To The Future when lighting hits the clock tower. Now imagine this occurring for 24 hours straight. The LACMA did just that as they held a FREE 24 hour screening of the film in the beautiful 600-seat Bing Theatre.
This film was unlike anything I had ever watched. From 8:55PM to 10:47PM, I watched time fly by on the screen. Clips from movies of all genres: sci-fi, western, Hollywood classic, postmodern, comedies, you name it, it was there. From Donnie Darko to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to He’s Just Not That Into You to foreign and old films that I had no idea about, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Christian Marclay created a universe in which all these films co-exist at the same time. It was like watching brief glimpses into the lives of other people. I always had this theory that someone is being born and someone is dying right now. This film theoretically proves the crazy yet plausible notion.
In any other hands, the film would have been boring and confusing and tedious to watch, but Marclay masterfully created such seamless transitions that it all really flowed together and felt like it was part of the same film. If a person started opening a door in one scene, the film transitioned to someone else opening a door. If one person lit a cigarette, the next scene would show the person smoking it. It was uncanny how well the film passed through time all the while pointing out how time occupies us all. Music would pass from one scene to the next and then fade into the next scene’s background.
It was an even crazier notion to think that due to everyone’s subjective experience of time, there were 600 people in the film experiencing different times at once. It was an orgy of time happening in that screening, and I loved every minute of it. I felt connected to the world in a truly existential way. The hardest part? Figuring out what was the best time to leave. Christian Marclay has impressed the hell out of me. I can’t imagine the research phase, let alone putting this all together.
When we left at 10:47PM, there was a line around the block to get in. I can only imagine what the midnight scenes would be like.