4 November 2012 12:50 PM, PST | blogs.suntimes.com/ebert | See recent Roger Ebert's Blog news »

One of the readers of this blog asked a few days ago if audiences absolutely demand that movies be linear and realistic. The question came in the thread about "Cloud Atlas," which in fact is realistic, at least in the sense that we understand stories set in the past and in the future--although we don't often get six of them in the same film. There's nothing in the film we can't understand in the moment, although we may be hard-pressed to understand how, or if, they fit together. And if the actors play multiple characters of various races, genders and ages, well, we understand that too.

Movies (and novels, too) have long felt fee to be non-linear. They feel no need to begin at the beginning and conclude at the end. Flash-forwards and flashbacks are so native to the art of film editing that even the earliest film audiences understood them instinctively. »

- Roger Ebert

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