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We have been given two broad subjects to base our final video project for Experimental Narratives. These are

  • Time
  • Memory

I haven’t quite decided what which one I am interested in, so I will research into both to see what inspires me.

We have been asked to research into the following:

  • Approach
  • Influences
  • Style
  • Sound
  • Text
  • Structure

TIME

Definition according to Oxford Dictionaries:

  1. the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
  2. a point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon
  3. an instance of something happening or being done; an occasion
  4. the rhythmic pattern of a piece of music, as expressed by a time signature
  5. plan, schedule, or arrange when (something) should happen or be done:

One of the first sequences I thought of that related to time is a scene from Benjamin Button http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XnH0VES9Cc

It shows how one of the main characters (Daisy) gets run over because of a series of events, but if one (or more) of those events didn’t happen she wouldn’t have been in the accident. The main story is about a man (Benjamin Button) who ages backwards but is in love with Daisy, at this point he is still trying to get into a relationship with her but she has moved to Paris to pursue her dancing career. The narrative over the top is the Benjamin explaining the accident (he narrates the intermittently throughout the entire movie), it is in a chronological order. And then goes over the entire sections to show that if one of them hadn’t happened or happened in a different way Daisy wouldn’t have broken her leg. Along with the narrative you can hear the sound effects of the story i.e. the phone ringing or voices, and also a piece of music which sets the scene because it sets the viewer on edge, like you know something is about to happen. When the viewer sees Daisy miss getting hit by the taxi you her a low chord which brings a sense of relief as you don’t see the accident but also a sense of sadness as you know she was hit.

The scene raises questions of fate and control. Do we really have control over what happens to us, or is it predestined? In some ways it was a good thing Daisy was hit because it led to her being with Benjamin, her true love, does this mean it was meant to happen? The whole film explores this ides of predestination because the final scenes talk about what the characters are ‘meant to do’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPylaZGRj8o

Doctor Who is about a Time Lord, in an episode called ‘Blink’ there is a fairly famous quote where the Doctor explains time in relation to the series:

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”

I like this idea of time being subjective to the individual, like one student might really enjoy a lesson and feel like the time has gone quickly whereas the person sitting next to them might not enjoy that particular lesson so they feel like it is longer. Perhaps this could be shown using a split screen of the same event played at different times. This is along the lines of the psychological theory of time perception of the subjective theory of time, we cannot experience other’s perception of time. And this perception can be distorted and manipulated.

When thinking about the first definition of time it reminded me of a photo which originates from a popular graffiti. This is something that hints at the idea of predestination, that this is the line that we should follow and because of this we are all stuck on the same path. Or we are meant to.

One photo series called ‘Imagine Finding Me’ where a Japanese photographer, Chino Otsuka, edits herself into old photos of herself. Similarly to this Sarah Brevick found photographs of her mother and recreated them but with herself, this series is called ‘Mother, Daughter’

MEMORY

Definition:

  1. the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information
  2. something remembered from the past
  3. the part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.

A photo series by Dona Schwartz looks at how parents cope when their children move out yet keep their room as it was called ‘Down and Out’ I like this mix of past and present colliding. Schwartz says she likes exploring “the transitional moments between places we have been and the place we have yet to go”

One movie that heavily features the idea of memory is Memento, about a man who suffers short term memory loss and he is trying to work out who murdered his wife. He uses notes and tattoos to remind himself of what he once knew. The film is mainly shot in reverse chronological order, it can be quite confusing. This idea of illnesses and diseases that affect your memory, this film depicts a man with anterograde amnesia, a disease where a person cannot create new memories, so the main character can only remember things from a point. This reminds me of a psychological case study of a man who hit his head so hard that he couldn’t create new memories, but this was so severe that sometimes if he was distracted in a conversation or a conversation was suddenly stopped he would forget the conversation within a matter of seconds. I have a deep interest in psychological disorders so something along this line would be interesting.

From this I started to think about other disorders that affect memory like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Huntington’s disease. Many films explore themes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease like The Notebook and 50 First Dates. I watched a documentary called The Forgetting one of the things that stuck me within the first five minutes was when one of the women talking about her family member with Alzheimer’s was:

“she would do the same tasks over and over again. You know like put toast in the oven. The toast would come out of the toaster and then she’d put it back in the toaster”.

I am considering creating a video with this theme of repetition, perhaps seeing the from the position of the person doing the acts, perhaps I could use a GoPro camera.

I watched a short film exploring theme of Alzheimer’s disease called ‘remember’ I particularly like the shots his face and hands using a spot light. This is also something I am considering using in my film.

I really like this idea of exploring Alzheimer’s disease within my 1 minute film, to explore this further I looked at some of the symptoms, according to the NHS:

Mild Alzheimer’s:

  • forgetfulness
  • mood swings
  • speech problems

Moderate Alzheimer’s:

  • disorientation
  • difficulty performing spatial tasks (such as judging distances or finding your way around)
  • problems with eyesight which could lead to poor vision, or in some cases, hallucinations (where you hear or see things that are not there)
  • delusions – believing things that are untrue
  • obsessive or repetitive behaviour
  • a belief that you have done or experienced something that never happened
  • disturbed sleep
  • incontinence

Severe:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty changing position or moving from place to place without assistance
  • weight loss or a loss of appetite
  • increased vulnerability to infection
  • complete loss of short-term and long-term memory

I am mainly going to focus mild and moderate Alzheimer’s with the focus on disorientation, forgetfulness and mood swings. I will also look at this idea of loneliness as this disease can make a person feel very lonely. I will try to portray these elements with the following:

  • Spotlighting on a face – loneliness
  • When you see the face there will be different emotions – mood swings
  • Disorientation – camera spinning
  • Forgetfulness – repetition of actions/events
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