Part 4: Narrative · Project 17: Time

Project 17: Contracted and Expanded Time

Example of overlapping or repeating action

In ‘Don’t Look Now’, Donald Sutherland goes into one of the churches that he is working in. He goes up onto a suspended platform to examine some mosaic repairs. While on the platform a ceiling beam breaks and falls onto the platform and in the process breaking some of the ropes holding up the platform. Donald Sutherland starts to fall off the platform. The viewer sees Sutherland fall over and over again but each time from a different angle. The shots normalize again when he manages to grab a rope to break the fall.

Falling 1 Falling 2

Falling 3 Falling 4

Merging shots

In ‘A Beautiful Mind’ the passing of three seasons is achieved in the space of a few seconds. The first shot is taken from the outside of John working at his study window and it is snowing heavily. The camera pulls back slowly in what is meant to look like one shot, however as the camera moves backwards the weather changes to spring and then summer.

Winter Spring Spring 2

Empty Frame and Jump Cutting

In ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ a family take a very long road journey in an old VW bus. Time is contracted in two different ways. In the first instance, the empty frame is used although it is not a still shot – rather the shot is panning from left to right (as if the camera is a moving car), then the VW appears on the left side of the frame, drives through the frame and exits on the right.

1 2

3 4

In the second time contraction, there is a shot of the VW on the road and then jump cuts to various occupants in the car, then another jump cut to the car and this is repeated a number of times to indicate that a huge amount of distance and time has been covered on this journey.

5 7

10 9

Cutaways and Slow Motion

In the following clip from ‘The Matrix’, there are two time manipulations. The first is a series of alternating cutaways to contract time. Neo and Trinity are in a lift and need to set a bomb and climb onto the top of the lift. The viewer sees cutaways alternating between Neo stopping the lift, Trinity opening the bomb case, Neo opening the ceiling trapdoor, the bomb coming out the case, Neo’s coat disappearing through the trapdoor.

The slow motion scene to expand time is when the lift hits the ground and the bomb explodes. The explosion is filmed in slow motion.

A second slow motion scene occurs in the later part of the clip. This is probably ‘The Matrix’s’ most well known slow motion scene; where Neo shoots at Smith and Smith dodges the bullets. Smith is seen bending left and right to avoid the bullets.




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