Tuesday, March 20, 2007

decoding time code

Four split screen, a converging plot, and a ton of confusion. We've been talking in class about technology and it's ability to focus on detail and help us organize and investigate things more closely (Kino eye). We've also talked about how film loses detail because we can only see what is in frame and miss a lot of the surrounding context that isn't shown. Mike Figgis, the director/write of Time Code brought a creatively disorienting piece that is herhaps harder to pay attention to than Virilio's dense commentary on (real-time) techonology.

It was actually interesting paying attenting to what you focused on during the film - which of the four plots am I looking at, or am I just staring blankly into space. Throughout the movie I kept on thinking about my tendencies to concentrate on one of the scenes and what drew me to the specific quad of the screen. The dialogue often forced me to start paying attention to the relavent story, but after a moment I had to remind myself to try to pay attention to the other three. It was especially difficult in the beginning, where the background sound muffled the dialogue in the starting scene, giving no context at all as the four plots began.

As previous posters have noted, the film is partially ad-libbed since the whole movie is shot in one take, and I wonder how much of the dialogue is made incoherent because it was so irrelevant. Or was the movie just trying to be mysterious by sporadically giving a portion of some dialogue, sometimes mixed in with other dialogue from one of the other three screens, or just having silence. Mysterious or not, it seemed that the scenes were predictable - even though the movie was to some extent improv.

Perhaps, the most intriguing scene was when the Russian woman (not sure who she was, but taking this from a previous blog entry) began describing her ideas for 4 simultaneous stories that converge - pretty much desribing the idea behind the movie. She said that the big surprise in the end should be that, although the four stories are shot in "real-time" at the same time, they describe the same person in different times. Although it sounded intriguing, I didn't see how this movie led itself to doing that. Did it even try to converge not only the plots but the characters as well? Perhaps a second viewing would lend some answers, but I'm not sure if I could pay attention for another 93 minutes and if I could, which story would I pay attention to then.



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