The first spark for Cronofobia came to me about ten years ago, during my personal experience in the mystery-shopping sector. Being an “incognito inspector”, with its small rituals, the continuous travels and the study of an actual “script” created to become each time a different kind of customer, immediately seemed to me like an intriguing starting point to tell a story about suspended identities.
Later the desire to explore personal and contradictory sentiments, that I believe are common to many people of my generation, came into play. On one side, we are pushed towards constant change, mobility and an urge for a life characterized by an eternal present, on the other we feel nostalgic for everything that we leave behind, for a place to stop to create a meaningful bond with what is dear to us.
For me the two main characters of this story are the embodiment of these two opposite sentiments. Suter is a sort of urban ascetic, a man constantly in motion, always changing his appearance, who owns practically nothing, not even a house for himself; a man who is only trying to forget, to escape from himself and his guilt.
Then there is Anna, a woman who refuses to accept reality and lives frozen in the past, desperately clinging to a place, the immobility of memories, the objects that bring back a lost intimacy and a daily routine to her mind, but that are no longer a part of her.
Cronofobia is the story of an encounter between these two self-imposed and out of time solitudes. It is the story of two “prisoners”, strangers to each other, that struggle to find a mode of communication, to create a relationship of intimate distance. I tried to create opposition also on a visual level. Suter’s world is made of malls, hotel rooms, offices and gas stations: impersonal spaces, like the inside of his van, small and large “cages”, fascinatingly impersonal, with indirect lights, strong geometrical perspectives and nondescript furniture. Anna’s world, and her house, on the other hand, is a realm of shadow, of strong contrasts and bright colors: a strange private theatre immersed in a metaphysical environment, were the smallest gestures are amplified by the sound of silence. A place where Suter, after all his transformations, finds a comforting warmth, like the one described by the poem cited in the movie, that describes a paradise were we all would like to live forever.
However, it is only make-believe, a survival mechanism, because lying to ourselves sometimes is the only way we have to resist.