Selections from Richard Brody-Me-Banana’s TAKEDOWN of “The Clock.” Read the rest at the New Yorker:
Visual quotes from Godard, Truffaut, Ray, Fuller, and Hitchcock offer none of the daring editing that marks these directors’ work. Marclay’s editorial suaveness is almost a parody of what might be considered classical editing, TV-commercial-style or high-studio-style, except that even these examples of banality are false attributions.
By looking at how feature films present the most ordinary activity—checking the time—Marclay suggests the distortions that the history of cinema has wrought in the collective imagination. Yet, in assimilating the art of the cinema’s artists to the work of far less inspired craftspeople, Marclay—seemingly willfully—overlooks the enduring spark of imagination that these artists’ work offers.
“The Clock” is a work of affection, even, at times, of tenderness, but not of passion; he may be in thrall to movies, he may even need them, but it isn’t clear that he wants them.