Secret machine (2009), the second film in the Reynold Reynolds Secrets trilogy, follows a young woman, once again played by the talented Helga Wretman, being subjected to endless experiments that follow an aesthetics similar to Muybridge’s motion studies on a Cartesian grid.
Throughout the film we observe the female protagonist as she is analysed by a large variety of instruments and reduced to a few numbers on paper in a dehumanized organization. Everything she is capable of doing —breathing, seeing, moving— is measured by the most different types of clocks ticking around her, as she remains expressionless, even when in pain.
The film makes the same use of time lapse photography that was so characteristic in Secret Life but takes it a step further by combining it with images shot at a normal speed showed over two different channels, with the intention of giving a realistic reflection of movement and showing the full capacity of the human body.
This decision also contributes to the study of time, especially if we take into consideration the Eternalist theory, which affirms that all points in time —the past, the present and the future— are all equally real and existing at once.
We also can’t forget the most important instrument being used and the one that doesn’t appear on screen: the camera, capable of achieving both scientific and artistic purposes and capturing the protagonist’s humanity when nothing else will.
Images courtesy of the Artist
Secret Machine, 2009