Thursday, February 18, 2010

Timecode and Control

I found it very interesting how Timecode played with ideas of control. There are four screens in the movie, all with simultaneously occurring action. It is conceivably up to the watcher which screen to focus on at any given time. Different people may be interested in different things, or their eyes might be caught by certain events, so the watching experience is different for everyone. One person may come away from the movie thinking one thing, and another person found a different meaning. The movie will also be slightly changed every time you watch it, because during each time you will probably try to look out for things that you missed the first time around. In this way, Timecode is a writerly text, because the meaning and interpretation is constantly changing, and is almost entirely dependent on the watcher.

Although the visual gives a sense of total control, the way that the creators played with the audio allowed them to subtly pull the watcher’s attention towards certain sections of the scene at certain times. By making the audio louder in one screen, the moviemakers tried to make you focus on that one screen, but the option to do so or not is ultimately up to the watcher. The director may be trying to tell the audience what he thinks is most important at those times, but that is only one interpretation, which can be followed or completely ignored. At times all the audio is at the same level, so you have to narrow both your seeing and hearing to one set of images and sounds. Also, sometimes the music would be much louder than the speech, even so loud that you can’t hear what it being said at all, and that could be telling you that the words at that moment are less important than the visual, and trying to hone your senses into that idea.

The way the movie was made also plays with traditional views of control. It seems to be a continuous filming with no cuts, edits, or fades to black. As a result, you have to ask if the movie is sort of playing itself out, in an out-of-control fashion. Usually the director can stop and warp the film to his image, his ideal, but in this case it seems to be a collaboration of the actors’, camera crews’, and director’s visions. This notion of loss of control is directly represented in the movie by the multiple earthquakes. Earthquakes are natural phenomena that are completely unable to be controlled by men, and every time one happens in the film it reminds you of that fact. Everyone in Timecode is trying to control something; their relationship, their psyche, their company, etc., but those frequent shake-ups abruptly cause chaos and disorder. Timecode’s main message is that control is an uncertain thing, and you never know who has it and who is really in control.

(Friday 11 AM Section)

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