TNB Night Owl–Chronopolis

Wheel of cheese cut and stacked in front of a stone wall. Photo by Alexander Maasch.

This is the third Friday Movie I’ve put together while in lockdown. You have the monotony of being stuck indoors combined with having an eight year old constantly in the house, and with horrible sleep habits. I can’t count on her being asleep so whatever I watch has to be, if not child-friendly, then not anything that’ll freak her out if she comes into the room during. Hence how I ended up with Piotr Kamler’s CHRONOPOLIS (1982) playing in the background. I hoped that the expanse of available time would help me make sense of this. It did not.

Kamler spent more than five years animating CHRONOPOLIS. He was a one-person animation team, laboring through stop motion claymation, puppetry, drawings, and simply amazing design. It’s an incredible feat. Combine the stunning post-industrial visual with a soundtrack by electronic music pioneer Luc Ferrari and you have an artistic feat.

So what’s it all about? That part isn’t so easy. There is a text scroll in the beginning of the film. It’s in French. I, unfortunately, do not speak or read French. I was able to get a translation of it via Google Translate:

There is insufficient evidence of the non-existence of the city of Chronopolis.
On the contrary, dreams and manuscripts agree that the history of the city is a story of eternity and desire.
Its inhabitants, hieratic and impassive, have for only occupation and for only pleasure to compose time.
Despite the monotony of immortality, they live in expectation; an important event must occur during the meeting of a particular moment and a human being.
Now, this expected moment is preparing …

Google Translate

That didn’t help. All online research says that it’s a city of immortals who get bored with their existence and start playing with time while waiting for something to happen. With the absence of dialogue beyond that initial scroll, here’s what I can gather:

Bored immortals create life then mess around with it. Some of that life does not like being messed around with. Immortal mountain climber strikes up a relationship with a ball. Some immortals rot. There is much bouncing.

That all being said, it does look really cool.

Question of the night: what’s the strangest thing you’ve watched while in quarantine?

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