‘…creates something personal and poetic from the most cryptic and anonymous of situations…’

For most of us, just the idea of the clocks going forwards or backwards by an hour is confusing if not anxiety inducing enough; the title Cronofobia refers to the specific fear of time passing; it’s not a term that’s used directly by the characters in Francesco Rizzi’s accomplished debut feature, but the notion of elision infuses the entire 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 personal shopper, a serial–killer, what? This man’s furtive manner, his strange behaviour helps keep the audience on edge, particular once he meets the equally elusive Anna (Sabine Timoteo).

It’s not quite a meeting cute, as Michael is waiting in his van outside of her house, but his motives towards her remain obscure for most of the film. She is widowed, vulnerable, insomniac, and 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 Christopher Nolan’s The Following, but the gleaming visuals and edgy mood have an energy all of their own, and the central performances are striking. Rizzi’s film was something of a find on the festival circuit (screenings in Locarno and Rhode Island followed on from Edinburgh and Tallin) back in 2018/9, marking him out as a fresh and original talent who creates something personal and poetic from the most cryptic and anonymous of situations.


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  1. There used be a trend for these hard-to-know-what’s-going-on movies back in the day and generally they came with all sorts of clever ideas about what it was all about. I sometimes think directors miss bits out to make a less interesting film more interesting but often all they do is annoy the punter. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, to find a personal shopper turning serial killer.

  2. Still feels like winter here, though I’ve seen some daffodils so there’s that. I put the clocks forward early evening so by the time I got up this morning I was already sorted timewise. Nope to the movie, it sounded intriguing but the trailer really put me off.

  3. For half a second, I thought was a young Mel Gibson in the picture.

    I plugged this into Amazon to see if I could find it streaming for free….there’s a surprising number of books and music albums with this same title…..

    The spring time change is my favorite day of the year. I know I lose an hour’s sleep, but it’s the signal that winter is one the wane and we’ll be back outside soon……

    • Trying not to present to many pics of Mel at the moment…not sure why this film is so hard to find, only four reviews on RT…

      But yes, spring is here, lambs are gamboling, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and it’ll be daylight at 10.30pm before you know it! The good times start here!

  4. What’s the Tallin festival like? Lots of slebs?

    Trailer looks neat, but not sure what it’s about. Also don’t know why you can’t be both a personal shopper and a serial killer. Haven’t you dipped your toe in both?

  5. Ugh, the time change. Ours happened a couple of weeks ago and I hated it. Personally, I don’t care if we moved to Atlantic Time or made daylight savings permanent, but I am SICK of moving back and forth twice a year. It really screws with me and the older I get the longer it takes me to adjust…

    • It’s a bit of a shock to the system; we just did it last night in the Uk, and I’m still trying to recallibrate my internal instruments. I’d be happy to move to Swing Time, Madison Time or even The Land Before Time if it meant not having to prance around in the pitch black for four months…

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