Time Code ~ 10 Years On

Mike Figgis shot the movie Time Code over a period of two weeks but not as re-takes, but rather making the whole same movie again and again. The final credits say:

Time Code was filmed in four continuous takes beginning at 3.00pm November 19th 1999. All of the cast improvised around a predetermined structure

Budget: $4M (estimated)
Opening Wknd: $93.1K (USA)
Gross: $945K (USA)
Genre: Drama
Awards: 2 nominations
User Ratings: 6.1 (4,074 votes)

(From IMDB)

And one reviewer said:

“What is the purpose of the experiment? Above all, to show it can be done. With “Leaving Las Vegas,” the camera strategy came second to the story and was simply the best way to get it on the screen. In “Time Code,” the story is upstaged by the method, sometimes more, sometimes less, and a viewer not interested in the method is likely to be underwhelmed.

[The clip I took was done with an iPhone ~ one take lol]

What Figgis demonstrates is that a theatrical film can be made with inexpensive, lightweight digital cameras and that the picture quality is easily strong enough to transfer to 35mm. He also experiments with the notion of filming in real time, which has long fascinated directors. Alfred Hitchcock orchestrated “Rope” (1948) so that it appeared to be all one shot, and Jean-Luc Godard famously said that the truth came at 24 frames per second, and every cut was a lie.”

I found the movie an intellectual joy, my eye sweeping around the four cameras while letting the rising and falling of the sound direct my focus to one of them. With a little practise I was able to concentrate on all four screens at the same time, ‘out of the corner(s) of my eye’ . A non-focus, wide-eyed zen meditation technique.

Cinematic technique aside, the overall story itself is about the making of a movie at Red Mullet Studios, (Figgis’ own) in downtown L.A. It has five main characters:

1. The sensitive, “real” wife of the studio owner, torn in love, in therapy
2. The rich bitch lesbian in her stretch limo with her wire-tap
3. Her girlfriend wannabe actress
4. The Studio Owner, genius, drunk and screwing the wannabe actress
5. The Movie itself has its own life, its own character, its own screen-in-a-screen

The rest of the cast are awesome. Of note: Drug pushing security guy; beautiful auditioning actress; “Q” the mobile massage guy; pretentious Leiberwitz-quoting Russian-loving female existential singer avante garde wannabe movie director; the director casting a movie and the staff of Red Mullet.

The Story: A Love Story

Cinema semiologists speak of the “disjoined signifier,” and by that they refer to the separation of the viewer from the signified–in this case, from the story.

Have to look that up to comment !?

Love the soundtrack: Jazz, the movie is cinematic Jazz, punctuated with The Polish Symphony Orchestra and featuring Everything But The Girl

I will watch it again in about a week, come back and edit this, meanwhile here is “The Comfort of Strangers ” written by Figgis himself.


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