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2013 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

What Is a Screen Nowadays?

Author: Francesco Casetti

Published in: Public Space, Media Space

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK


Mike Figgis’ film Timecode recounts 93 minutes in the life of a group of people living in Los Angeles (Timecode, 2000). The duration of the movie and of the events it relates coincide: the story is captured in one long take without intervals or cuts. Most surprising is the possibility of following more than one situation simultaneously: it was shot with four different digital cameras, and all four takes are presented contemporaneously, on one screen divided into four sections. Sometimes the plotlines of the various characters intersect with one another more or less haphazardly, and when this happens the camera that has been following one of the characters may shift to another character and follow him or her instead. At other points the plotlines converge, and we discover retrospectively the correlations. More often, however, the events proceed in parallel, without intersecting, but also without excluding the possibility of eventually crossing paths. We watch the stories in the four adjacent sections of the split screen, jumping from one to another, attempting to establish connections, selecting what seems to be the central point, at the mercy of the flow of images.

What Is a Screen Nowadays?
Francesco Casetti
Copyright Year
Palgrave Macmillan UK