I’ve already proven an “like” infinite concept in film, that of:
Past + Present = Present
Present + Future = Future
Future + Past = Past
Loop this as many times as you feel necessary to illustrate said point. But what happens when you add in multiple pasts, presents, and futures?
What I’m imagining is what I’m going to call a “phi” build.
The difference is that the values of the mise-en-scene and editing variables between them grow larger in scale. So that at once, an infinite gradually grows more infinite as the films time span goes on.
So boiling it down into thirds, which I like to do:
This would really work well for a Mystery film for examples because you get a clue which builds upon itself, but the end would be rather ambiguous as to what the “answer” to said clue was.
Before we begin, what is “The Mind’s Eye” referring to? Why sheer human imagination of course, the images we see in our mind everyday but exist on some other realm of reality.
Now what’s the problem?
The Problem is if we perceive an image, we take this as “objective truth”, I’ll come back to this. If we perceive something say, “auditory”, that lies in the realm of the “subjective”.
Allow me to illustrate: You’re alone in your house, it’s night time, when suddenly, from another room, you hear a loud bang. We’ve all been here, and we all have the same reactions, almost fight or flight. Could someone be trying to break in? If your superstitious, was it a ghost? You’re mind makes up all sorts of “possible” “what-ifs” to the reality based on this auditory stimulus… and this… is “The Mind’s Eye” in action.
Now, let me put you in the room where the “loud bang” took place. Say your in a kitchen, and you have a cereal box on the table, you witness this time, the same event, only this time you see what caused the event… your cat got on the table and knocked the cereal box onto the ground. The fight or flight is most certainly lessoned because you “objectively perceived” what happened.
Stan Brakhage I think got the question right about “The Mind’s Eye”, but the answer wrong. From my observation there is only oh-so-much you can accomplish with visual-variables, visual abstractions, to move “The Mind’s Eye” in one direction or another. He neglected the very thing that could make it work which is the auditory variable in cinema.
Now what’s the Solution?
I’ve come back to the wonders of this equation. So, here we are, at the two essential bases of cinema: Visual and Audio Stimulus. But what to do? You DISPLACE the Variables:
To put it clearer: You see a visual stimulus play out which the audio track either follows, (or doesn’t), on it’s own separate terms. Since the variables are separated, you lose faith in your observation, because the auditory is telling you different… and vise-versa. This is where “The Mind’s Eye” comes into play.
Many, many, years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This was during my teenage years, and for the most part it seemed we had things under control, I was very confident in myself, brash at times… but during that time I never lost sight of doing what I wanted to do, which was to make film. After High School, in the Summer, I went to the New York Film Academy and truly shined, with many people thinking I made some of the best cinema of the class that Summer year. That was the final flash of hope I could recall in what would become a battle that would last a decade, (and truly for the rest of my life), with Bipolar I/Schizoaffective.
During this decade I can only utter little words as insights, it felt as if my memories became little bubbles of information during this time, nothing whole or linear:
A drive down to see a doctor in oxnard, sometimes daily and surly weekly. Dreams which I didn’t want to wake up from, nor could I either, sleeping away my life. Cutting open my face with a comb, finally entering a mental hospital. Feeling anxious that I was going to lose everyone. Entering the mental hospital again…
… and then, by some miracle, it seemed I snapped into some sort of mentality where I thought I had to work harder to stay healthy. So I opened up to my doctors more, they found a medication that works for me. I created structure for myself, and for my doctors to look carefully into to keep me on the right track. I quit smoking, meanwhile lost 40 pounds in the process due to picking up exercise, I even got of my diabetic insulin as a result. From now on I wanted to win, but the battle I fought had a reality to it…
…This last month I went into a mania, there is no need to describe all the gory details that resulted from it, but something interesting occurred during the exiting of it all…
…When I quit smoking, lost weight, and got off insulin, I noticed my confidence didn’t return to me, even though I thought I had Bipolar I/Schizoaffective beat at the time as well. Sadly, that last issue is not going away, but unlike before, when I had this most recent trouble, I never lost sense of myself. I instead knew something was wrong and did something about it. So I called my doctor everyday if I had to, and beat this issue into the ground on the home front, not even having to go to the hospital again. Suddenly, in realizing this, and with a bit more medication adjustments, the person who I thought I lost a long time ago had returned… Full Force!
Now that I’m back, I have a lot of catching up to do, and part of that is not just making film theories/experiments/ideas I “HOPE” to film one day. No, now I actually can make my hopes and dreams a reality. I used to be so afraid of falling on my ass or failing that I didn’t even try at times, mainly because I felt then, that film was my only hope. It was the only thing I could cling on to during my “Blurred Decade”, that if I tried then and failed, I wouldn’t even like to see the result of what might partake after. I couldn’t handle the film or myself as a result. But now that I’m on more stable ground, I feel I have the liberty to fail and the liberty to try again. Because ultimately what I am after IS “Film Science/Film Experimentation”, and I will fail, many times, but with the confidence in who I am now, I am actually able to pick myself up.
…I, for the first time in many years, see a future… and it’s a future worth fighting for!
A sequence using dialectical montage operates as such:
Sequence = Thesis + Anti-Thesis = Synthesis/New Thesis
But what if we play with this sequence, remove the Anti-Thesis from the equation and create some mystery to the sequence so that sequence equates to this:
Sequence = Thesis + “X” =Synthesis/New Thesis
So take this in terms of a written scenario:
“A man is walking down the street, when someone from a passing alley mugs and murders this individual, this man falls to his death and the culprit runs away.”
(Note the written format: 1,2,1). Now take out (2):
“A man is walking down the street, this man falls to his death (someone either criminal? or spectator?) runs away.”
By taking out actions in film and having reactions being the point of all action, it leads to the beginnings of the audience having multiple interpretations of a single film… but this is only “part” of a bigger equation to solve. To truly create the “Multi-Film” one must push the use of intercutting to the extreme. So:
Sequence 1 = Interpretation on Sequence, which leads to a possible Sequence 2 & 3.
Interpretations on 2 & 3, intercutted, lead to possible Sequence 4 & 5 & 6 & 7.
Interpretations on 4 & 5 & 6 & 7, intercutted, lead to possible Sequence 8 & 9 & 10 & 11 & 12 & 13 & 14 & 15…
…and continue on this process as long as it can sustain itself.
I believe this is a possible way to achieve this type of film. Though I’ll have to experiment with it…
Let’s define “Restricted” and “Omniscient” Narration:
“Restricted Narration” in film occurs when the film itself is filtered through the eyes of a character.
“Omniscient Narration” in film has the aesthetics of many characters and/or no characters but an “auteur’s” vision.
These narratives have been mixed, Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is an example, but the “mix” comes in “Narrative Gear Shifts” from 1) Restricted, then to 2) to Omniscient, then back to 1) Restricted, etc. What I’m proposing is developing a “Third Narrative Gear” whereby the spectator experiences both narratives simultaneously. But how is this achieved?
The answer is in the division of “Visual” and “Audio” tracks. Or [V+A].
Say for example we are “Visually” experiencing a “Omniscient Narrative”, [V]. What we juxtapose it with is a “Restricted Narrative” auditory track, separated, but still relevant to the “Visual Track”, or [A]. The results are something uniquely cinematic. We may be “Visually Experiencing” a world through no ones eyes, but out ears tell us something entirely different, that of the mind of a character, perhaps in the visual world of the film, or perhaps outside of it entirely. Of course, this idea is not wholly “new” there is of course “The God’s Perspective” seen in many documentary films, but I think it should be adapted more in the realms of fiction.
The key here, is that since cinema works with both visual and auditory tracks, I think the art of it, what makes it cinema unique, lies mostly in it’s division of “perceptions”, rather than it’s symbiosis. Or perhaps something that exists in flux…
The image above, taken at glance, can be interpreted two ways. We can see a Young Woman in her prime, or an Old Lady past it. But the image above provides a unique premise if we look past what we take at initial value and more in a perspective of the “possibilities” of “how” we can perceive. Is it so that given the right circumstances of illustration and set up that a film’s very mise-en-scene can provide such a multiple perspective? I believe it can be done. Is it also so that given the right circumstances of editing that the very edit itself can also provide multiple interpretations, as with the mise-en-scene? To this too, I say I believe it can be done. But what would be the resulting film if conceived correctly? Imagine this if you will: You’ll watch a film which can be interpreted as an action film, a drama, a romance, a comedy, a combination of all or some, or something mutually exclusive. It would all depend on how the viewer chooses the view the film. One person may say, “It was a romantic comedy”, while another person getting out of it at the same time would say, “It was a action-packed suspense film”. And these very same people, maybe viewing it again on a later date, would change their opinions entirely. This is what I call, “The Multi-Film”, because it is an chameleon, it changes as the viewers perspective changes.
Imagine this if you will. Say you have ten random shots or sequences, that when added together one way produces a singular film of a singular meaning or impact; but when added together another way the entire definition of it changes and it is wholly different from the singular film before, with entirely different meanings or impacts. So at once, added together this film could be a romance, in the next, a comedy, in the next, an action film. How can this be done? The idea came to me over the course of plotting down dotted points on a piece of paper, and at glance, it became apparent one could create a multiple amount of interpretations drawing a line from one point to the next. Think of these “dotted points” as shots/sequences, the “lines” between them are their editing values that could produce a multitude of films from the “dots” plotted down before you. What needs to happen, in order for this to work, is for the filmmaker to give each “dot” slack, then tighten the “line” in the editing process. As I feel an experiment doesn’t work unless people are able to “understand” and more importantly “feel” the work.