In advance of the final 24-hour screening of The Clock (August 23–24: Saturday, 11 am–Sunday, 5 pm), I caught up with two special visitors from the last 24-hour screening. I’m on my own quest to see all 24 hours, so I wanted to get some thoughts and tips from two professional film-watchers who ended up fitting in 13 hours in just a couple of days!
Marian Masone and Linda Blackaby are used to watching films—Masone is Senior Programming Advisor at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, while Blackaby is Director of Cinema Projects and consults on film festival programming around the country. But watching The Clock was a new and unique experience, one that brought them from the coasts to meet in the middle at the Walker Art Center.
Both enjoyed the excuse to come to Minneapolis, and to the Walker specifically to see their friend and colleague, Walker Senior Film/Video Curator Sheryl Mousley. While they didn’t have the chance to sightsee (“Sorry, the rest of town,” said Masone, “we were there to see The Clock and that’s what we did.”), Masone said that crossing the Mississippi River at least twice a day was a highlight of her trip.
Altogether, the pair watched 13 hours of The Clock over the course of the weekend. (Blackaby noted that a cup of coffee at 2 am would have got them a few more hours.) Though it showed in their hometowns (at the Lincoln Center Festival and MoMA in New York and at SFMOMA), “it’s difficult to incorporate something like this into your daily busy life, so it made sense to do it as an excursion,” said Blackaby, noting that they travel to see films at festivals professionally, “so it fit into that model.”
I wanted to learn how these cinephiles, who have had experiences with “durational” pieces like SATANTANGO and The Coast of Utopia, watched The Clock. For both Blackaby and Masone, it was less about the specific clips selected and more about how the editing created rhythms and moods, and showed a wide span of cinematic styles over time.
One thing I’ve noticed about The Clock is its consistent state of narrative tension—Marclay uses sound and editing to build things up, but there is no chance for true resolution. Masone said that “it’s actually kind of a gas to get all excited, or scared, or… something, and then: poof! We’re at the top of the hour and things start to shift.”
Masone’s “big question” for Marclay would be if he considered any part of the 24 hours to be the beginning—or the end. “If there is none of those, then of course there is no climax! Very cool.”
For Blackaby, “the whole experience was really a lot of fun—I wish The Clock were running here now so I could pop in and revisit it.”