Monday, November 17, 2008

Post-Modern Fragmentary Movie-Making

A recent episode on Sunday Morning, the tv show that ranges far and wide in its topics, included a segment on car chase scenes that illustrates an item we were discussing in the Literary Criticism class last Wednesday.  In the program, there's a discussion of how new movies with car chase scenes treat them (and their audiences) differently than in previous ones.  The segement, titled "'Quantum of Solace'--Cutting to the Chase," by David Edelstein, describes how the new Bond movie's chase scenes is an illustration of the fragmented and mashed-up film making that earlier films did not use.  He compares Quantum and similar films, including Bourne movies and Batman, to earlier films with chase scenes that seemed to make more sense, such as The French Connection.  
Edelstein says that the new films are almost "abstract" in their use of action.  It's a quality of valuing the rhetorical device of fragmentation, asserting perhaps that the modern viewer targeted by the film makers is one that can process the chase scenes fully, or it's the material they want to process, while an audience member from an earlier age (like me) might want more context.  

1 comment:

Amy said...

Dr. Nelson,
It's interesting that film styles evolve right in fron of eyes and I don't even really think about it or discuss it with the people we may be watching a movie with. A movie with Nicholas Cage, "Gone in Sixty Seconds" I think, had soem of those fragmented chase scenes and I remember appreciating the speed and suggested movements of continuity in the movie. Maybe not point A, then B, then, C...but more like a snap of point A, then an aerial view from point C, and followed by a tail end vehicle view of another car at point B...almost seemed like we were in the chase with them rather than just watching it. I do like the connect-the-dots more with love stories and comedies, since they give background for other jokes and statements in the screenplay. I am definitely watching movies, news, cartoons, commercials..geez, everything differently.