Fractal films and the architecture of complexity

Author: Everett, Wendy

Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 2, Number 3, December 2005 , pp. 159-171(13)

Publisher: Intellect

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Within the postmodern understanding of the centrality of space to filmic narrative, it is now possible to discern new developments that reflect both the contradictory tensions of globalization, and the widespread obsession with theories of chaos, chance, and networks. Nowhere are these changes more acutely revealed than in fractal films, filmic portrayals of urban space which is no longer shaped by the linear mappings of modernity, but is posited as both entirely random and yet at the same time structured by complexity, simultaneity, and violent encounters. This paper identifies a number of key issues within this new perception of urban geometry, and investigates their considerable significance for contemporary European cinema, with specific reference to the articulation of filmic space and the fragmentation of narrative form. It concludes by considering the implication of these findings for contemporary readings of European identity. Supporting evidence is drawn from a range of films including: Free Radicals (Albert, 2003), Run Lola Run (Tykwer, 1999), Code Unknown (Haneke, 2000), Amlie (Jeunet, 2001), and Intermission (Crowley, 2003).

Keywords: chaos; filmic space; fractal film; networks; postmodern narrative

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Bath.

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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