An atmospheric psychological drama from first-time director Francesco Rizzi, Cronofobia's arresting visuals and committed performances make this one of the most memorable films of the year

Film Review by Daniel Mohr | 28 Jun 2019
  • Cronofobia
Film title: Cronofobia
Director: Francesco Rizzi
Starring: Vinicio Marchioni, Sabine Timoteo, Leonardo Nigro

A suspicious looking middle-aged man sits alone in his van and quietly observes a lonely woman. A few days later, she invites him into her house and the two strangers begin a peculiar relationship. This is the curious premise of Cronofobia, an atmospheric psychological drama from first-time director Francesco Rizzi.

The film works as a gripping character study, diving deep into the protagonists’ minds and gradually revealing their past and secrets. We discover the two characters may not be all that different. Michael (Vinicio Marchioni), a professional mystery shopper by day, is dealing with an existential and identity crisis, while Anna (Sabine Timoteo) is unsuccessfully trying to overcome the trauma of losing her husband. The two make for an unlikely couple, yet both need each other.

Their strange and outright weird pairing is what gives the film its uncanny atmosphere. The characters may be alienating, but they remain captivating thanks to the two actors’ heartfelt, go-for-broke performances. Whether it is yet another awkward encounter in a public cafe or a simple intimate moment, both Marchioni and Timoteo bring entirely unexpected levels of nuance to the scene. Similarly, Rizzi’s sure-handed direction and eye for arresting visual compositions keep the film’s elements of suspense and romance consistent and balanced – especially considering the treatment of the titular mental disorder as the film's overarching theme (chronophobia is the fear of passing time).

Overflowing with originality, Cronofobia works as a thought-provoking mystery-thriller, but it also helps to address much more sensitive and often overlooked issues. Its themes and style may not be to everyone’s taste, but Rizzi’s confident execution and his cast’s delivery make it one of the most memorable films of the year. 

Cronofobia had its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Daniel Mohr is a student at the University of Aberdeen and part of Edinburgh International Film Festival's Student Critics Programme. For more on EIFF's Student Critics Programme, click here

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