By Allan Cameron
Because the early Nineteen Nineties there was a pattern in the direction of narrative complexity inside well known cinema, as evidenced by way of the successes of such motion pictures as Pulp Fiction, Memento and Run Lola Run. Modular Narratives in modern Cinema seems to be on the method a few those movies play with time and narrative. Allan Cameron shows how this formal play displays a power fascination with questions of likelihood and future, reminiscence and historical past, and the illustration of simultaneous events.
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Extra info for Modular Narratives in Contemporary Cinema
In many of these films, the syntagmatic structure of the plot seems dictated by external forces rather than motivated by the internal demands of the story. There is the sense, at least, of an external logic that exceeds the requirements of conventional storytelling (even if such requirements are ultimately satisfied). Whatever their relative merits in other respects, these films represent some of the best attempts to come to terms with the experience of temporality in contemporary culture. Amongst the films that I go on to discuss in later chapters, there is a persistent concern with the mediation of time.
He argues that while the novel and cinema affirm narrative as the key cultural form, in the computer era, narrative’s role has been usurped by the database (218). Cinema is a particularly divided art form in this respect, for it ‘already exists right at the intersection between database and narrative’ (237). In other words, the process of editing a film usually involves creating a narrative, out of a database of shots and sequences. 19 In the age of the computer, then, narrative itself is threatened by the analytic perspective on time.
Initially, Babel allows its viewers to assume that its network of globally connected tales is unfolding in a linear temporal mode, until a phone call near the end of the film reveals that the separate plot lines are not contemporaneous. Time travel films also overlap with modular narratives, although most tend not to exploit the inherent possibilities for disjuncture and confusion (see The Time Machine [George Pal, 1960], Back to the Future [Robert Zemeckis, 1985] and the Terminator films [ James Cameron, 1984 and 1991, and Jonathan Mostow, 2003]).