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Cronofobia 2018 *****

The title refers to the fear of time passing; it’s not a term used directly by the characters in Francesco Rizzi’s accomplished debut feature, but the notion of elision infuses the story. Rizzi’s film is about two people, a man and a woman, who have a tangential connection to the kind of concerns that most of us have. Frequently wearing a false moustache and seemingly living in a van, Michael (Vinicio Marchioni) is a man whose occupation is deliberately obscured. Is he a hit-man, a thief, a serial –killer? His furtive manner, his strange behaviour keep the audience on edge, particular once he meets Anna (Sabine Timoteo). It’s not quite a meeting cute, as Michael is waiting in his van outside of her house, but his motives remain obscure for most of the film. She, widowed, vulnerable, insomniac, has her own complex issues, but the relationship between the two is constantly fascinating, often hard to pin down as they both slip through different characters and identities against an unfamiliar background of mundane Swiss locations. Cronofobia has a little of Chris Nolan’s The Following, but the gleaming visuals, choice musical cuts and edgy mood have an energy all of their own, and the central performances are striking. Rizzi’s film is something of a find on the festival circuit (screenings in Locarno and Rhode Island follow on from Edinburgh and Tallin), marking him out as a fresh and original talent who creates something personal and poetic from the most anonymous of situations. Highly recommended.

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