Written in response to:
I enjoyed Stephanie Bishop’s review of 10:04 but I thought it was worth sharing a little piece of trivia that seems relevant to her reading, and that perhaps she missed. The 10:04 scene from Back to the Future is part of Christian Marclay’s The Clock. The title of Lerner’s novel might thus come as much from that moment as it is recontextualised in Marclay’s work as it does from the original film. In fact, the 10:04 scene from Back to the Future could also be thought of as a key scene in The Clock (in so far as that is possible in a 24-hour work that draws on so many sources from the history of cinema).
The Clock is, on one level, about creating continuity across disparate times and places. It uses highly sophisticated editing techniques to achieve this. It also creates a sense of continuity between the screen space and the space we occupy as viewers (hence the absurdity of Lerner’s character looking at his watch while watching The Clock). In this sense, Marclay’s Clock can be thought of as a time machine: all of those moments from the history of cinema are happening in the synchronous now of the viewer. In fact, one of the many films that recur in The Clock is The Time Machine, the 1960 adaption of the H. G. Wells’ novel. So if we are watching at 10:04 in The Clock, we have already been traveling in Marclay’s time machine and so have a whole other level of appreciation for Marty McFly and his journey from 1955 to 1985.