Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Real-Time Mayhem

When the movie first started, I was a little confused as to why the picture was only a small part of the upper left-hand of the screen. The frame placement took some of the focus away from what was happening in the story. The flashing red counters around the first frame were quite distracting in an already confusing scene. When the other four frames were introduced to the audience, the amount of confusion became overwhelming. It was hard to focus on what was happening with the various characters and, at times, it was hard to distinguish one conversation from another. But when analyzed from a different perspective, Mike Figgis (the director) epitomized Vertov’s ideal that the camera shows the human eye what to observe and in what order to observe things in. The imperfect human eye, which takes in all the details (whether it needs to or not), must be directed and shown what to see/appreciate. By highlighting certain conversations and frames, Mike was showing the viewer the importance of the work.

The only other form of multimedia that I have seen show events in “real-time” is the television show 24. With that series, however, every moment is breathtaking and each episode feels as if mere seconds have passed instead of a full hour. With Time Code, the events were shown in “real-time” as we know it in our everyday existence. Life is never a constant shift from one heart-pounding event to another. There are often times moments of nothing; little moments where we put on our make-up or give someone a hug. In that sense, the movie was more real than anything that I have seen as a motion picture in a really long time. As argued in “The Third Interval,” modern technologies have caused today’s society to ignore the “concrete presence” (10). We are so involved with making things go faster and more convenient, that watching a film that actually mimics the pace of real life is quite jarring.

The four synchronized frames in one scene of the film was a unique and interesting viewing experience. Yes, it was a bit impossible to follow all four frames perfectly throughout the film, but isn’t that what real life is like? We all have our own issues that we have to deal with, and we all have people who we meet in a day-to-day basis. Yet, no one really pays attention as to just how similar and intertwined all of our lives really are. Like Alex’s blog below, I also thought that the scene where the woman was trying to explain her movie idea to the board of directors was the most interesting out of all the scenes. She is basically explaining the premise of the movie, but she is adding a twist on it that probably could not be visually achieved. Perhaps Mike Figgis did intend for all the characters to be the same, only at different points in their lives, but it was a hard concept to put onto film. No matter how similar we are with our problems and life experiences; in the end, it is the decisions we choose to make that set us apart from each other.

I must say, having learned the film was taken in one continuous shot has really impressed me. The actors really got into the characters that they played; really understood their motivations and limitations to have been able to carry through without outtakes or edits. The earthquake scene gave the first impression that the film quality was going to be horrific and the acting was going to be just as bad, but I was pleasantly mistaken!



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