I WANT MORE TIME, F***ER

January 19, 2018

 

Welcome to Magpie Factory LLC. That's right magpies - we incorporated! Wyatt and I are extremely excited to kick of the New Year with intention and an arsenal that includes our new short Snailman, and the very first feature in the books... More on that to come in future instalments ;)

 

All good things come in good time... including good cinema. Time is one of those perennial Themes in movies, popping up it's wizened face in anything from stale period dramas, sci-fi ponderings, and indie romances. In some ways, I find this a shame, because the obsession of Time as a subject has rendered much of its treatment trite. Too often do we reduce Time to its simplistic components: timescale (slow-motion/super-quick motion); past/future (memories/visions); linearity (ageing) -- to name a few. And while these components certainly hold interest and are valuable cinematic approaches, it often feels to me like not seeing the forest for the trees.

 

Ironically, the treatment of Time as a separate Theme or effect in cinema is tautological, because cinema is, by its very nature, an artefact of Time. Anything that happens within a shot occurs with a certain amount of time, and is quite sufficient a description of Time as any lofty dialogue or time-traveling that might occur in Hollywood. For me, the most profound meditations on Time come from the simplest shots -- a character stirring tea, or kelp waving in the water. The latter comes from Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky, who proclaimed himself a 'sculptor of Time'. His idea was to convey visually the ways in which Time manifests - its various rhythms, paces, and effects. Indeed, in Solaris the protagonist's dead wife somehow resurrects, as if his memory of her alone is enough to throw himself literally 'back in time' to when they were together. By extension, Tarkovsky was essentially proposing that Time is Reality, which I find an immensely poetic idea, and allows for truly poetic shots that speak of much more than what is simply within the frame. 

 

But enough esoteric ramblings -- the point is, as filmmakers we should be thinking about Time as a fundamental matter of our process, not just as a Theme to be explored in our stories. Consider it's consequences when you edit, move the camera, or hold that shot - what are you describing, beyond the events of the scene? 

 

 

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