Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Construction of a New Narrative

Once again, we see the impact that cinematic edits and technology can have on a film. In Alone, Life Wastes Andy Hardy, Martin Arnold uses the concept of looping to create a different narrative than what normally may have happened. By constantly rewinding and playing a scene multiple times in different rhythms, he transforms simple scenes into a complex storyline. For example, in the opening scene, Andy and his mother share an intimate moment that is fragmented by a constant pause and repetition. As a scene that originally could just be a simple motherly embrace and kiss, Martin Arnold has made this become a motherly obsession – an Oedipal lust. By slowing down motions, actions are heightened. His body is thrust into hers, and her momentary sensual facial expression is repeated multiple times. These heightened exaggerations lend part to creating this underlying storyline of a boy in love with the mother, while being scared of the father (who repeatedly tells him to “Shut Up” and proceeds to slap him), ultimately running to a girl his own age. Some scenes are played in its real time, like the slap is. But most of the scenes are slow, drawn out, repeated, and looped. The careful juxtaposition of certain scenes develops the narrative that Lev Manovich discusses in “The New Temporality”. Martin Arnold’s use of this type of repetition creates a narrative that is very extreme and dramatic. By looping the last kiss with the girl, he is not only solidifying a created relationship, but also constructing a dramatic artificial love in the relationship than was originally absent. In the original film, it was just one passionate kiss. But Arnold’s formal manipulation techniques of the film want us to believe that it was in fact 50 kisses of different lengths. Furthermore, Martin Arnold purposefully forces a real lag-time during the movie. By editing the scenes and slowing things down, he creates a sense of anxiety, anticipation, and general tension, as demonstrated in the scene when someone is at the door when the girl is singing, and all you can see is his shadow.

Another thing I noticed was that the editing seems to mechanize everything. The repetitive noise was like a machine churning, the repeated actions were like a malfunctioning robot; everything was disjointed and fragmented – temporally distorted while creating a mechanized feel. But overall, with this repetitive technique, this film really draws out the extremity in which you can manipulate film to construct different narratives, just as Manovich claimed.



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