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Non-linear film tells the sexual story of a film director from his life at age 5, 12 and 16, a man embarking on his first film in 1950s Tunisia, and finally to his current life. Along the ... See full summary »
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While a British film crew are shooting a version of The Duchess Of Malfi in Venice, they in turn are being filmed by a sleasy documentary primadonna while the strange staff share meals ... See full summary »
The primary story with this movie is that it is shown in four simultaneously filmed ninety-three minute single shot takes (in other words, shown in four quadrants), with the actual plot secondary. The four cameras follow the players involved, with two or more of the four cameras sometimes filming the exact same scene from different angles and thus different perspectives. The audio on each of the four quadrants is turned up and down based on which quadrant(s) the viewer should pay most attention to at any given time. The actual plot, which takes place in Hollywood, involves the pre-production by Red Mullet Productions for the movie "Bitch from Louisiana". The production team is in an executive meeting to discuss several aspects of the movie, including problems with one of their own, Alex Green, who has been missing in action from much of the production and this meeting. Alex's problems stem from his substance abuse and philandering, his wife Emma who is contemplating leaving him, of ...Written by
The film was written on music paper, exactly like a string quartet. Each bar line representing a minute. See more »
Cameraman reflected on an elevator door as he follows Emma after the therapist sequence. See more »
This is the most pretentious crap I've ever heard.
I'm sorry, could you speak louder, please?
Do you think anybody sitting around this table has a clue about what you're talking about?
No, but it's time to educate people.
You know, we think, "This is crap, but we'll do it for you, and then you do our crap." And that'll be the deal.
Alex, you are way out of line. I brought Anna here and I brought Joey here, and I expect some respect. You're way out of line.
Come on, Bunny...
[...] See more »
The film was transferred from digital video to film stock for theatrical presentation. The video release, however, uses the original digital video picture format. See more »
"Timecode". What does this have to do with the content of Figgis's film? As we discover towards the end, without any chance of our being mistaken, nothing. It must be a reference to whatever device Figgis used to synchronise his actors. And that lets us know where his interests lay: in filming four simultaneous, 97-minute takes - certainly not in telling a decent story.
This lack of concern for anything except the technical challenge - we don't even get a sense of exhilaration at seeing Figgis pull it off - could not be more naked. On four occasions, there's an earth tremor. How do these little earthquakes help the film or the viewer? Not in the least - but it helps Figgis synchronise his actors. (Can you think of a LESS creative way of working a necessary synchronising device into the - cough - story? I can't.) Characters from different frames bump into one another now and then, and sometimes this serves an artistic purpose. Equally often, however, it doesn't. The characters aren't interacting; the actors are reminding one another which bit they're up to.
And here's the moment that really gives the game away. Towards the end, in the two bottom frames, we see a young director pitching her idea for a new kind of movie - and it turns out that she wants to make "Timecode"! Wow, self-reference! The last, and this case probably the first, refuge of the creatively bankrupt. I wanted to swear out loud. I'd been waiting over an hour for some payoff, some tiny sign of confluence between Figgis's four-frame device and the (cough) story he was trying to tell with it, and THIS is the best he could do? To add insult to injury, the movie our young director was pitching wasn't QUITE "Timecode". It was better. It had music by Hans Eisler, for one thing. (Apart from the melody sung during this pitch, the music in "Timecode" is banal, and it's used with a ham-fisted incompetence that has to be heard to be believed.) Also, our young director had a neat idea. She wanted to adapt a Borges story in which an old man and a young man meet, chat, and gradually discover that they're the very same person, at different stages of his life. "Each of the four main characters," continues our young director, "will be the same person, at a different stage of life." At this point our eyes scan the four frames to see if this is true of "Timecode", at least metaphorically. No, it isn't. Not even metaphorically. I felt like beating my head against the chair in front of me. Why was I watching Figgis's wretched movie? I wanted to watch HER movie!
As the young director points out, this kind of thing is the offspring of digital technology. Well, not quite. Alfred Hitchcock came up with the idea of a film without cuts in the 1940s, and more or less put it into practise with "Rope". It goes without saying that "Rope" is far superior. The irony is that it's also far truer to Figgis's avowed ideal of perfect continuity. In "Timecode" a vertical slash and a horizontal slash divide the screen into four. EVERY FRAME is cut into pieces - Hitchcock merely had a discreet, and to the best of his ability invisible, cut every ten minutes or so. (He also had a story, but I should stop harping on that.) Talk about a bad bargain. And it gets worse. The digital technology that makes Figgis's inferior vision possible also makes every frame look ugly. Add the fact that nothing worth looking at is going on in any of them, and what do we get? Instead of one good thing, a choice between four worthless things.
It may not have escaped your attention that the last few years have produced a pretty poor crop of films. 1999 was the worst year in living memory - unless you were exceptionally old in 1999, and could remember the transition to sound - and 2000 turned out, contrary to all reasonable expectation, to be worse. Even regression to the mean gives us little reason to hope that 2001 will be any better. Yet every so often a film comes along that makes the future seem even bleaker. "The Blair Witch Project" promised us nothing but incompetence from the next generation of film-makers; "The Phantom Menace" let the world know just how successful a technically sophisticated, creatively barren rip-off could be; "Scary Movie" introduced us to the novel idea of comedy without any actual humour. "Timecode" is yet another depressing sign of things to come. I'm sick of them.
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