Monday, October 22, 2007

Special effects and continuity

My question is on Baudry's discussion of the cinematographic apparatus. I was wondering how contemporary films that use any kind of special effects figure into his equation. He notes that film "lives on the denial of difference," on the ability of the viewer to forget about the technical apparatus. However, it seems that many films made today serve to remind us of the technical prowress of its designers. For example, Waking Life captures audiences with both its execution as well as its content. Same with The Matrix. While it's still possible to suspend your disbelief at times while watching The Matrix, part of its appeal is the, how did they do that? (The mirror scene, the flying, every single fight scene.) As far as I can remember, it was one of the first movies to use the slow motion camera/flying fight scenes.

Baudry also talks about the relationship between the dominant filmic format and Western painting. While the sizing of film may be related, I'm curious as to whether other people think his comments on time and continuity always apply. Apart from stop motion animation, I believe most films do have visual continuity. However, many films don't have narrative continuity. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding his definition of narrative continuity, but films like Old Boy or Memento (where the plot doesn't really make sense until the end), Mulholland Drive (which never makes sense), or Baraka (which has no plot) seem to fight against his stipulation for narrative continuity.

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