Programmed by Jérôme Momcilovic
Time as punishment – of juvenile inmates and bodies that become heavy in prescribed spaces.
Boys, teenagers, are waiting. There are gestures of waiting (a plastic bottle crushed and chewed on to fill the boredom), the silence of waiting, the posture of waiting (a slumped back, the whole body seemingly liquified). What are they waiting for? That’s the point, the waiting has no purpose, or one too distant. They are waiting, as we say, for time to pass, but here time does not pass: it is nowhere to be found. The youngsters are detained in a juvenile detention centre in Hahnöfersand near Hamburg. Their empty waiting is trapped in an indistinct structure that sets nothing right: there are meal times, compulsory cleaning chores, sometimes phone calls to the outside world where families are also waiting, sometimes parcels, or letters, which are first opened and read by the wardens. Each situation finds the same lethargic bodies, deadened by this waiting that waits for nothing, imprisoned between walls that are above all those of time standing still – a time that gives the feeling, as the film title beautifully signals, that after two hours only ten minutes have passed. And this literally dead time makes these boys uniform, especially as they are faceless – filming their faces was forbidden. Lingering on the interchangeable necks, the shadows of faces emerging from under their caps, the tiny automatic gestures, Nach zwei Stunden… offers a striking phenomenology of prison, revealed as a pitiless machine for emptying bodies of their presence.