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Time and Space in Film

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Victoria Bucknell

on 9 February 2013

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Transcript of Time and Space in Film

in film Within the structure of a film narrative, time can be used in a variety of ways to help move the story forward:
Flashbacks to show past events
Cross cutting to show simultaneous events
Subtitles to illustrate that the time has changed Expanding Time - When you expand time, you are making the duration of the video sequence longer than real-time.
Slow-motion makes scenes slower, mainly for impact.
Repetition and different angles are used, especially in action films when showing explosions, to give different insights into the event.
Time Remapping is the term given when the editor decides upon the speed of a scene. E.G. The Matrix. Real-Time Video - These sequences are more common in sports and music genres than in fictional video such as comedy.
If the scene being filmed is fairly static, real-time is no problem, but challenges are thrown up when the scene must be followed with precision. Time Compression:
Time Lapse (Fast Motion)
Cutting gets the scene from one shot to another later in life, without looking unnatural.
Dip to black is used to remove a section
Dip to white is used to suggest a change in time such as a flashback
B-roll footage. We recognise narrative motivation through the film's representation of space and how it uses it.
However, we can only experience this representation by perceiving how the film moves through time; both profilmic and filmic. The 180 Degree Rule is the most vital guideline regarding
the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object in a scene. It is seen as the most obvious way to shoot a scene. Shot-Reverse-Shot is known as the simplest of techniques
and is mainly used to show the dialogue between two or more people.
Mise-en-Scene is often used to connect one
space with another. Eye-Line match refers to two techniques of film editing:
One character will be on a different level to another, and as the audience, we expect the two characters to have an eye-line match that refers to this difference. For example, the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.
A character will see something off camera, which then cuts to that object or person for the audience to see, as seen in Rear Window Match on Action is an editing technique
which shows a sense of continuity between
one scene and the next; hiding the cut. Techniques
Fades to black/white
Cross cutting
Parallel Editing SILENT ROMANCE 'Scholars such as Celstino Deleyto speak of romantic
films engaging in the discourse of love, representing the shifting practice of, and the evolving ideas about, romance in our culture' (Grindon, L, 2011). Physical settings often foster the conflicts between
that of passion and love, and that of precision and order.
Order is set in the home or the workplace; 'where obstacle figures can exercise their authority' (Grindon, L, 2011) Love Actually (2003):
Some Romance films contain 'parallel romances' where the emphasis is on a series of couples rather than just the linear development of one couple. FANTASY WESTERN SCI-FI As well as physical settings, temporal settings
can also prompt meaningful transitions between time periods or locations. Written on the Wind (1956):
Douglas Sirk uses space to show the difference between a character's status and their feelings.
E.G. Hadley Manor (Eggert,B; 2009) Sirk uses time in a literal sense in that it plays
on the concept of falling in love at first sight. 'The Maze ideology'
(Andrew Young: 2012) According to an article written by Andrew Young, Nolan uses both literal and symbolic space, and emphasises that ' different layers of the dream, offer up parallel and related spheres on interactivity'. (Young, A: 2011) This therefore implies two uses of space and time. 'Our understanding of these physical concepts in cinema alters our spatio-temporal awareness in the real world.' (Hurley, Mellamphy, Moriaty: 2011)

'adding another layer of complexity to an already complex topic' (ibid) Creed describes this notion as an act of resembling an alternate world which we compare to reality; ‘It’s not the real world, but cinematic representations of the world which have become our ground of comparison.’ (McQuire 1997, cited Creed 2002: 133) 'The Terminator' innovated a new narratological and cinematographic style for the 1980s Tech-Noir genre that James Cameron terminologically coined after using after using it as the namesake of the club in which the deadly rendezvous between Connor, Reese and the T-101 took place. (Meehan, 2008: 1, 171-2). While The Lawnmower Man was not the first virtual reality sci-fi, its virtually unprecedented juxtaposition of virtual reality with the actual world in the same action sequences encapsulated the technological zeitgeist of the 1990s and thus helped redefine the notion of space within the Hollywood psyche. (Meehan, 2008: 193 & 198) 'The Terminator', given its non-linear narrative and futuristic premise, as astutely pointed out by Corrigan & White (2004: p.215) provides us with "memories of the future". Consequently, John Connor exists in an alternative timeline without any external causality and is exclusively the product of his and the terminator's/supercomputer's future actions. (Kappel & McVeigh, 2011: 52). The 'Lawnmower Man' also has (albeit, brief) instances of temporal shifting, in the guise of the montage sequence chronicling Jobe’s intellectual enhancement.
This compression of time accelerates the audience’s perception of Jobe’s mental development and, as Corrigan & White (2004:136) observe, reinforces its narratological significance. As well as perceiving its distortion of cyberspace and reality, Nelmes also notes how this challenges our own self-perceptions as entities inhabiting a three-dimensional space and deems Jobe’s absorption into cyberspace as the climax of this distortion.
Thus, this virtual space is expressive in warping one’s conceptions of our own dimensionality as Todorov, cited in Telotte (2001: 162), deems this “computer-generated photorealism” a breakdown of the limits between substance and psyche. The locale of 'The Lawnmower Man' was also contradictory in its construction of Expressive/Representative Space with its positioning a Software Installation on the outskirts of an isolated sub-urban town in the United States in an allegory of the discord between humanity and technology, which Meehan re-affirms (2008: 8, 198). Themes have stayed largely the same (money, power, good vs. evil).
Early westerns were not experimental with camera work
Many silent westerns were produced before the advent of sound.
When sound became popular, so did the western.
Product of the golden age. Medium Long shots are commonly used
Fixed shots or very little camera movement
Reflective of the times
Landscape was not utilised very often
Westerns were generally in chronological order
Some uses of prolepsis 'The Searchers' 1956
The film was around the time the Western was dying out
Style had changed dramatically
Many more tracking shots were used
The landscape features heavily
Freedom of cameras allows much more character interaction with area Joseph Magliano talks about "spatial regions of interaction" (Indexing space and time in film understanding).
Spatial regions of interaction refers to rooms, scenarios or regions that can be distinguished from one another. This ties in with spatial continuity.
The Searchers’ correct use of spatial continuity is vital due to a staple part of the western genre, the large presence of the landscape. The use of the landscape in westerns is unique:
Landscape is used to show inferiority of a character
The harshness of the land
How to landscape becomes part of the way of life While there is a causal logic in which the storyline is based around the T-101's goal of killing Sarah, the paradox of this causality was a pregnant Sarah Connor's revelation in the epilogue sequence that Reese is actually the father of the man who sent him back through time to protect his 'future' mother in response to the terminator’s deadly assignment. One way in which virtual space is superior in psychoanalytical expression than real space in The Lawnmower Man is its reliance on our own perception and understanding of computers, as noted by Nelmes, J. (1999: 74-6) and is hence more interpretational. The penultimate factory scene could be regarded as ironically Expressive Space, since the terminator is confounded (and dispatched) by all the operating machines when Reese activates them...as Redmond (2004:199) indicates and is deemed by Booker (2006: 194) as a parallel between the present and future technologies as well a premonition of the dangers that future technologies may bring. A particular kind of parallel editing, historically dubbed ‘Post-Classical’ in The Lawnmower Man was deployed in the suspenseful penultimate sequence in which Jobe desperately attempts to escape the mainframe before the software installation explodes. This visual technique forcefully retained the audience’s captivation and also constituted a deadline structure, wherein a decisive action that must be achieved by a certain moment accelerates the pace of events, and in turn, raises the suspense. (Corrigan & White, 2004: 234-5.)
Thus, Parallel Editing and Invisible Style were necessary to (Ibid 10 & 3) seamlessly segue between reality and cyberspace given the simultaneity of events in both realms. (Bordwell & Thompson, 2006) A series of Shot/Reverse shots that generally adhered to the 180-degree rule were heavily used in the car pursuit scene, in which Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) informs Sarah (Linda Hamilton) of the malevolent intentions of the terminator. As with most shot/reverse shots, the Eyeline Match shot in these was also deployed in order to sustain the angular continuity/contiguity between Reese and Sarah, as well as to affirm the positionality of the characters. The Tech-Noir sequence and ensuing pursuit, in which the Terminator locates and Sarah and Reese comes to her aid just in time, begins with initially well-spread cuts that become increasingly shorter as the T-101 closes in and accelerate with the subsequent shoot-out. •Firstly, that the time is set within reality although it's theoretically a dream, because the characters can interact with one another.

•And secondly, it implies that the structure of the 'fantasy' or dream state is constructed like a maze. “Dreams are brief […] If a dream is written out it may perhaps fill half a page. The analysis setting out the dream-thoughts underlying it may occupy six, eight or a dozen times as much space” (Freud; 819).

Freud’s claim that people maintain a certain “underestimation of compression” associated with dreams (Freud; 819). 'Is similar to what happens in psychoanalysis' - for a brief period, you are taken outside of your world, outside of real time, to a place where entire lives can pass by in a matter of minutes.' (Sabbadini. A : 2001: cited in the Guardian [online]: Accessed 28/01/2013) “The projection of moving images in a temporal sequence is the most obvious feature distinguishing cinema from earlier art forms” Toy Story
John Lasseter
1995 Monsters Inc
Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman
2001 Wall-e
Andrew Stanton
'The problem the cinema must address early in the century is precisely its ability to record singularity. The cinema confronts the difficult task of endowing the singular with significance, of manufacturing an event in a medium designed to record, without predilection, all moments.' (Doane, 2002: 67). 'Unlike previous forms of visual representation, in which comprehension took time (writing, sculpture, painting), the cinema, because it was mechanical, subjected its spectator to the time of its own inexorable and unvarying forward movement.' (Doane, 2002: 108) 'Such a mechanical irreversibility also, however, forms the basis for film's affiliation with time as chance.' (Doane, 2002: 113)
e.g. What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City 'In cutting up film, time becomes elastic and relative (Eisenstein, 1924), malleable and fragmented.' (Harbord, 2007: 69)
'If we understand a central fascination of early film as being rooted in the act of documentation, the practice of editing opens a further temporal possibility, in the words of Tarkovsky (1986), of sculpting time.' (Harbord, 2007: 69).
The cut also forced theoreticians into distinguishing between filmic time (the physical film, the apparatus) and profilmic time (all that happens in front of the
camera). The 'cut' lead to several, pre-continuity system, editing methods.
•The media used 'faithful reconstructions' cut with shots of the space and time that an event took place, such as in The Execution of Czolgosz.
•An event such as Electrocuting an Elephant in which there is one cut, for the purpose of eliding time that is perceived as uneventful.
•There is the use of the cut to repeat a scene, to give multiple viewpoints to the same time and space.
•There were chase scenes in which people would run through the space within the frame, then proceed to another. 'The chase scene creates a sequence of events, although, as Doane notes, the order of the shots is unimportant. Characters move through space, but more significantly, we are to understand the passing of time and, within this, the possibility of multiple outcomes.' (Harbord, 2007: 71)
•Parallel editing - 'In many ways, parallel editing displaces the temporal logic of film, creating a simultaneity that requires the spectator to insert herself into the relationship between images, to forge connections.' (Harbord, 2007: 72) 'The magic film is structured by repetition, based on the alteration of presence and absence rather than a linear forward trajectory. Its primary "special effect" is the substitution splice.' (Doane, 2002: 134) 'The cut will not be seen. Méliès' "invisible editing" preceded that of the classical continuity system by many years.' (Doane, 2002: 134) '…it is arguable that narrative as a temporal form tends, overall, to corroborate the directionality, linearity, and hence irreversibility of time. Yet film narrative can and does depend upon the temporal aberrations of memories and projections, incarnated in flashbacks, flashforwards, and radical ellipses. Each of these, however, depends upon the cut, which allows the disarticulation of filmic time and profilmic time.' (Doane, 2002: 131) Westerns 51 Years Apart:
No Country For Old Men shares a lot of
themes with early westerns:
• Very fine line between good and evil
• Landscape used in similar way- visual
similarities. Hence, in what Bordwell & Thompson (2001: 279-80) also identified as being used in The Terminator, Rhythmic Editing in which the editing style is determined by the frequency of cutting, based around the perceived pace and intensity of the action, & vice-versa, was necessary to cinematographically construct the space in which the action unfolds, Bibliography

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Love Actually Character Connections (2006) URL http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/love-actually/images/17756504/title/love-actually-connections-all-fanart [accessed 04/02/2013] HOW DO HORROR FILMS CONSTRUCT TIME AND SPACE ‘TO SCARE, SHOCK, REVOLT OR OTHERWISE HORRIFY THE VIEWER’ (Cherry, B: 2009). Safe Space:
Traditionally, Hollywood cinema ‘creates a safe and stable space for the audiences to experience the movie’ (Maltby:2003)
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Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978, USA)

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Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975, USA)

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