Film is movement is space is time

Let me introduce one of the films I admire the most for it’s use of time and space.


Entr’’acte. This film is not about a plot but about mocking the norms of space, time and continuity. Through a seemingly continuous editing but discontinuous space the characters move through a filmic space, which, when analyzed breaks with any idea of a fictional world. Shot counter shot, which is suppose to create relation between spaces next to each other, creates connection between distant places. Or between a locale in the fictional world to that of a realm that we can only address as existing in the filmic spac, like when Picabia appears as a ballerina.  Characters pass through a place twice, while they are supposedly walking on a straight line…. More over events that happen in the “present” aren’t chronologically coherent since in the coherent fabula they should have happened before.  This film has a plot but its main intention is not to narrate it but to narrate how film can create space and play with time’s chronology at it’s own will without disturbing the plot.

Let me introduce you to my second favorite.

Last Year in Marienbad Last year in Marienbad. This film constructs a psychological space. There is no time in this film, but instead it holds the viewer in a timeless purgatory. As viewers we want to realize what happens whether she will escape with her lover, whether the husband will find them. But eventually we realize that the woman is in no space but in her own mind. As viewers we give up constructing hypotheses and live in the perpetual stagnant time of the film and hear her thoughts. This is linked with the lacanian theory that traumatic memories are buried and cannot be accessed; they are in the unconscious never to be discovered. Once again we are not concerned with the plot but our focus is on the time and space that the film creates.

These films are different than a film like Memento. Memento contrary to what J.J Murphy says uses time in the film to aid the fictional world. We are experiencing the narrative from the protagonist’s perspective. Thus, our relationship with the character changes due to the handling of time in the film.  The plot is about his distorted sense of time thus our experience of it is serving the fictional world even if it is from a subjective point of view. The film is not making a statement of time beyond the plot.

These types of films which focus on creating their own time and space, and go beyond trying to create a space that doesn’t serve the plot and don’t lead us to draw hypothesis . These films that make clear that time and space is not an objective concept, that film is not about making an impression of the real world but to create it’s own spatiotemporal realm, these films really exploit the medium of film.

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