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The Royal Tenebaums: Temporal Ellipsis Measurable

by Michael Frierson

Noël Burch writes that if the time in Shot B does not continue the time in Shot A, but is advanced from the time shown in Shot A this is temporal ellipsis.

He further breaks down the idea of "temporal ellipsis" further into measurable or indefinite. While the two concepts represent a continuum from one extremity to the other, Burch says that if we can determine what time has been elided – that is, if we look at the shots closely, and some factor within the shots tells us how much time has elapsed – we have a measurable temporal ellipsis

In the common form, these measurable temporal ellipses come within a single take with the camera locked down or moving only slightly, so that the spatial framing is preserved and the actor performs a familiar, linear action so that the time elided is clearly understood -- making the elisions measurable rather than indefinite because the total duration of the linear action is roughly known. A typical example is a scene from The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001) in which Richie Tenebaum (Luke Wilson) cuts his hair and shaves his beard, before ultimately slashing his wrists in a suicidal moment. With the Elliott Smith song “Needle In the Hay” as a bed, editor Dylan Tichenor presents eighteen jump cuts of Richie looking into the bathroom mirror/camera as removes his hair and beard.

The Royal Tenenbaums: Temporal Ellipsis Measurable

Noël Burch writes that if the time in Shot B does not continue the time in Shot A, but is advanced from the time shown in Shot A this is temporal ellipsis. If we can determine what time has been elided, we have a measurable temporal ellipsis

from The Royal Tenebaums (2001)
Creator: Wes Andersen
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
Posted by Michael Frierson
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