"real time"

Film Sometimes the ponies run free. Here's David Bordwell, just as I'd hoped, analysing the narrative structure of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk:
"A more conventional choice would be to confine the action to a fairly brief stretch of time, say two hours, with the rescue fleet arriving at the climax. There might even have been an effort to handle the action as occurring in “real time,” that is, with the duration of the scenes matching their duration in the story. In any event, Nolan could have crosscut his four men–Farrier in the air, Dawson and others at sea, Bolton and Tommy around the Mole–at the points when their activities are roughly simultaneous. If Nolan wanted to include earlier incidents, such as Tommy’s escape from the Germans or his efforts to board the Red Cross ship, those could have been presented as personalized flashbacks. Instead, all that material appears in chronological scenes, but on three distinct time scales."
As with any film, it'll take several years for the implications of Nolan's decisions to marinate. There are plenty of interesting indie films which have messed with the time scheme in an interesting way -- 11:14 replays the lives of several people involved in a motor incident and shows it from each of their perspectives, but this is a rare occasion when it turns up in a mainstream film (the grey area between art house and blockbuster somewhere Nolan knows all too well).

Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia has a really weird middle hour.  The opening and closing hours cross cut pretty conventionally as you might expect in a hyperlink film, but in that central hour the quiz programme suggests that were chronology watching about half an hour of "real" time but the whole section fills an hour.  Anderson shifts backwards and forwards to show parallel actions one after the other but without repeating material from the quiz programme.  It's subtle enough that you might notice notice until after multiple viewings.

No comments:

Post a Comment