A quantum mystery on the streets of Tokyo
Maggie, a worn-out private eye, is hired to find a rogue quantum physicist who kidnapped his daughter. Stranded in the graveyard of whisky-fuelled memories of Tokyo, she unravels a dubious quantum puzzle...
ZENO EFFECT is a film noir about quantum physics. Watch the trailer now:
Where to watch ZENO EFFECT?
We'll keep you posted once our film is officially released. For now, get into the mood with the trailer above, read the background infos on this site, and enjoy an exclusive clip from Dr. Erwin Heisinger's lost VHS tape.
The official film poster (click to download high-res image, PDF available upon request)
ZENO EFFECT — trivia
- Shot on location in Tokyo and Singapore
- Filmed on Soviet and German vintage lenses
- Proudly presented in original 2.66:1 CinemaScope
- Anamorphic glory with the Aivascope 1.75× Mk I adapter
- Feature length: 50min
A private eye trapped in a quantum maze
ZENO EFFECT is the story of a kidnap case on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. It is the story of Maggie, a private eye from Singapore running on an endless stream of whisky and cigarettes to wash away memories of better days long gone. Her investigation becomes an odyssey through the elusive depths of quantum reality.
Tomek Tomek, a once famous Polish quantum physicist, kidnaps his seven year old daughter Alicia and vanishes in Tokyo. Maggie Cheung, a private eye who has seen better days, is hired by Tomek's ex-wife Mrs Leung to find them and bring the daughter back to Singapore. Alicia is terminally ill with cancer.
Private eye Maggie Cheung (Darrell Chan)
Maggie's client Mrs Leung (Abby L. Kahei)
Maggie's only lead is Tomek's former friend and colleague Dr. Nakamoto, an eccentric scientist at the University of Tokyo. The two physicists worked together on a revolutionary, but controversial application of the quantum Zeno effect — research that almost ended Tomek's academic career.
Quantum physicist Dr. Nakamoto (Rick Chan)
Quantum physicist Tomek Tomek (Dagomir Kaszlikowski)
As she is racing against time to bring Alicia back home, Maggie's troubled past starts haunting her. Confronted with the bizarre world of quantum physics, she begins to question the very fabric of reality and her own self.
Reality and the observer in quantum mechanics
They say that "a watched pot never boils". As a proverb it tells us something about our perception of time but, of course, it isn't objectively true. Everyday life brutally verifies this simple experimental fact: all being equal, water always boils in the same time interval regardless of anyone watching it.
Things change in the realm of atoms. To enter their world you need to be fluent in quantum mechanics, a theory that describes the behaviour of the fundamental constituents of everything there is. Incepted in the early twenties by a bunch of European physicists, quantum mechanics turned upside down our understanding of how the universe works.
Sounds fishy? Let's hear what Dr. Erwin Heisinger has to say in this rare VHS recording:
Quantum theory teaches us that atoms somehow know whether they are being 'watched' and alter their behaviour accordingly. One of the mind-boggling manifestations of this weird property is the quantum Zeno effect. It tells you that you can prevent atoms from moving around if you just sit there and keep watching them. Once you stop they will resume their business as usual (which you don't know as you are no longer watching). Physicists have verified this behaviour experimentally, so it really happens out there. Of course, you can't apply the quantum Zeno effect to the boiling pot, because it is a macroscopic object and it seems that all those bizarre quantum effects disappear for such large assemblies of atoms.
The quantum Zeno effect is named after the Greek philosopher Zeno who shocked his colleagues with a series of puzzling statements about motion and reality. Watch the movie if you want to know more.
Quantum theory and cinephilia
We are theoretical physicists by day, seeking a deeper understanding of the world through the lens of quantum theory and abstract mathematics. We are cinephiles by night, sharing a passion for the great old masters of cinema.
ZENO EFFECT is our attempt to open the rational world of abstract quantum theory to the language of emotions, dreams, and visual expression.
Stefan Nimmrichter →
- Quantum physicist and cinephile
- Post-doctoral Researcher at the Centre for Quantum Technologies Singapore
- Studies the theory of quantum optics and thermodynamics and explores quantum phenomena in nano-mechanical systems
The Movie Credits
Maggie Cheung — Darrell Chan
Mrs Leung — Abby L. Kahei
Dr. Satoshi Nakamoto — Rick Chan
Tomek Tomek — Dag Kaszlikowski
Phone operator — Stefan Nimmrichter
WRITTEN & EDITED BY
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi)
Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT @ National University of Singapore)