Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"time code"; moving beyond the story

We received a disclaimer that this movie was "unconventional", but what we saw as soon as the play button was pushed certainly was more than unconventional. Multiple perspectives were represented in four split screens and no editting was used. The movie was shot in one single shot for every camera. The acting was improvised, only with a basic plot, and all the events that happened around them (i.e., a fire truck moving by) was real time.

After viewing this film, many questions rised in my head. Aside from the "unconventional" elements of the movie, the most pressing curiosity of mine was that why did the film maker name the movie "Time Code." The fact that the title doesn't deal with the plot at all should evidently mean that there is something more to this movie than the story shown itself.
The movie's basic plot was about a lesbian woman trying to get ahead in her acting career by having an affair with the producer and a movie executive going through a possible divorce. It would be fair to say these topics, romance and betrayal, are common narrative devices used in conventional movies. But, in the contrary, the point of this film indeed lies in this "common" nature of the narrative. Most conventional movies focus on the narrative, focus on the story and the ways to convey that story to the audience are secondary. In "Time Code", the plot is secondary; the way this plot is conveyed holds more meaning.

First, the movie was shot in four consecutive shots, meaning that no camera stopped filiming until the movie was over. Normally, without the editting process, no film ever gets released. But in this film, the notion that the editting process would be omitted was a basic premise. As an effect of this omittance of manipulating and distorting time, namely the editting process, time was portrayed in the movie as raw as possible to capture. Every actor in that film lived the same amount of length of time as the audience would see it.

Secondly, the four cameras provided four different perspectives which lead to a kind of "tele-presence" of the viewer in each situation. We can never experience the "present state" as it self, because we are humanly limitted to only experience the "present" we are experiencing first hand. Even if any other factor greatly affects our present reality , we do not consider that our "present" because we can't sense it. The "Time Code" attempts to portray the "present state" as accurately as humanly possible. It shows all the situations and point of views concerning the "present state" through the tele-presence of multiple cameras not losing anything because they continually film everything. As those situations converge, the camera shots also converge being in the same space.

Third, the fact that the actors themselves had to improvise and really "live" in this certainly staged reality added to the sensation of "real time." Actors were certainly less prepared as we could see in the raw acting and sort of unorganized camera movement. But this cinematic mess definitely contributed to the fact that as we, the viewers, watch the movie , the actors are also experiencing this movie, so a sort of connection to the reality of the movie between the viewer and the movie is more easily established.

"Time Code" was certainly something new. These are just speculations I bring forth, so a definite explanation of the intentions of this movie from the movie maker would clear many things up I think. However, I am almost certain of the fact that there is something more than the plot to this movie.



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