[The Universal Clock] should be widely screened and seriously discussed in every production facility throughout the land and, indeed in every classroom. Some people, somewhere, somehow, might then rise up against the tyranny of a system that engulfs us and insist upon experiences that would restore to our television screens the integrity of human consciousness. Then, and only then, could we fully celebrate the achievement of Peter Watkins, and indeed of other fine artists working in film.
Peter Harcourt, POV Magazine, Issue # 45, Winter 2002
“C’est toute la passionante réflexion de Watkins et sa démarche de cinéaste, refusant les recettes toute faites et abrutissantes, qui nous sont livrées ici.”
Le Devoir, Montréal
“The Universal Clock: The Resistance of Peter Watkins takes on the subject of image-making with a deft hand and an insightful eye.”
Gerry Flahive, Toronto Int’l Film Festival, Sept. 14, 2001.
“… observes Watkins coordinating the intricate blocking of his large cast on the Paris warehouse location and expounding on the ‘Monoform’ theory of creative prefabrication, pic sings with revolutionary energy.”
‘Variety‘ magazine August 8, 2001.
Imagine a planet televisually flattened of all cultural distinction, where everyone sees variations on the same thing. Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star, Sept.14, 2001.
As much a critical deconstruction of contemporary corporate TV culture as it is a portrait of one of the most consistently marginalized of contemporary filmmakers, Geoff Bowie’s The Universal Clock … takes its title from the corporate broadcasting philosophy that reduces all audiences to the status of a homogeneous global mass.
Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star, Sept.2, 2001
The Bowie film is about the making of La Commune, which was shot on a huge soundstage in Paris in 2000 using more than 250 non-professionals. Intercut with this footage are fascinating interviews with some of the actors, and visits to MIP, the big annual international TV convention in Cannes where Watkins methods and aesthetics are anathema.
James Adams, Globe & Mail, Sept. 6/01
Following Watkins lead, Bowie expands the scope of his own film, taking his camera to MIP-TV — the international industry market that takes place every year in Cannes, France — to show how the documentary format has been streamlined and homogenized. The resulting contrast between Watkins’ approach and those increasingly dictated by industry norms could not be more glaring.
Dimitri Katadotis, Hour Magazine, Montreal, Dec. 6/01
Bowie shows Watkins on the set of La Commune, and contrasts his work ethic and philosophy with that of some producers who are brokering deals at Cannes. It’s a cunning juxtaposition, making The Universal Clock a far more intricate and thoughtful meditation on a filmmaker than we’re used to.
Matthew Hays, Montreal Mirror, Dec. 6/01
A provocative and intelligent work. Eye Magazine, Toronto, Sept. 6/01