Ayoub Qanir Takes Time to Cannes

03/05/2015 06:06 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2015

"Uncertainty, is where God lives."

What do you get when you mix a finance manager, artist, industrial designer, and a nanotechnologist? A film writer and director that knows how to steal Time.

We all do it. A little time here, some from over there . . . but what if we could steal all the Time in the World? Even then, ask anyone if they agree on what time it is, and you'll get different answers. Why steal Time if no one agrees on it?

This is the motive behind a global effort to maintain some sanity about what Time it really is. At the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France, they've been in charge of everyone's opinion since 1875.

Physicists are in competition to invent a Time that's so accurate, it will knock out Relativity and the Uncertainty Principle, by replacing it with Certainty. And this is the plot in Ayoub Qanir's film Artificio Conceal.

A genius invents the world's most precise clock. In no time it's stolen, when a hacker breaks the code of the inventor's brain and steals his memory of the entire project. Rather than breaking in and stealing his computer, he's tranced-out, his brain emptied, and a "false" memory planted. This results in a counter-scheme to hit the kill switch on the stolen project, because in Reality, Uncertainty is our favorite form of entertainment. . .

Qanir, like most Indies, pays attention to the currency of information to feed his writing ideas. Even as a child, he'd hang out in his backyard with friends in Casablanca and watch Metropolis. He pursued film direction after attending the Lee Strasberg Film Institute, and is currently pursuing a graduate program in nanotechnology at Harvard.

Someone noticed, because now Artificio Conceal is off to Festival de Cannes in May. The dimensional depth of Cannes has earned an elegant history that bridges back to 1939. Qanir's contemporary surroundings at the festival will be New Century Haute. In 2010, the Short Film program was introduced, an exclusive venue he will be part of in 2015.

The Festival's neutral film environment has attracted gifted unknowns such as Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, Jean Luc Godard, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Qanir won't attend without his own impressive credits. He was a nominee for the UK Music And Sound Awards, Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Festival, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, and the Fort Myers Film Festival.

I've written about Qanir for my Huffington Post blog. Ayoub Qanir Finds Meaning was a review of Koyakatsi, which he produced during the hyperspeed invention of Artificial Intelligence. His goal was "to go against the grain and build my story from the sciences up and not the other way around."

In Ayoub Qanir Wants to Hack Your Brain, I published my first review of Artificio Conceal a year ago. This will be my second review of the film, based on the Screener. Qanir's visual restraint is powerful, yet it gripped me right off. A soundtrack by Matthew Wilcock and Aleah Morrison, as well as prestigious theater players David Baille (Pirates of The Caribbean) and Simon Armstrong (Game of Thrones), will leave you perplexed how a film idea so simple could be so satisfyingly complex.

There's plenty of juice to squeeze out of Artificio Conceal. Nanosecond flashes of clues at the crime scene, like a copy of Godel Escher Bach on the inventor's desk, give us a sense of how deep the crevasses run in Qanir's own computational brain.

If obtuse mystery is what you crave, this one will do it for you. If not, you'll still be satisfied, just from the seamless intensity of the actors. The film makes clever use of often in-your-face scenes, and Qanir pulls the best out of them.

You'll need to do some heavy lifting to guess how this film could end. Qanir has us assuming that stealing Time is a political conspiracy to rule the digital world. To win the War on Everything, all a Superpower would need to do is control information, and even the timing and content of language.

We might control our privacy and freedom of thought, but what good would that do us if no one understood what we were saying? Miss a social cue, and you've got ADHD. Psychologists consider timing of spoken language a top predictor of a successful marriage, and even a successful online social life.

In the end, we may crave the Meaning of Life more than our Obsession with Time. Rather than information, emotional angst may be a more effective tool for control. Now we can add the race with Time to extend the human lifespan indefinitely.

Qanir is timely again with Artificio Conceal. He presents a very convenient truth about the New Century. Certainty of Time is probable, and Fermilab can't wait to find some extra bit storage out there in Space with their Holometer experiment. What do they need for this? You guessed it. Two precise quantum logic clocks that are even more accurate than any atomic device in existence.

The next step could be easy - Time Travel. Bit storage is a passive investment, whereas vacation and honeymoon packages through the Wormhole would slow Time down so you could enjoy your trip. We're into novel tourism destinations because it's an investment that really pays off.

But wait, here comes Hawking's Time Patrol . . .

"You don't have to live forever, you just have to live."
-Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting