Blog Prompt #2 (2/6/2018)

Managing the transition of time is among the most difficult yet least appreciated tasks of film directors and editors. The three films we have seen thus far have spanned very different time frames. Upon first glance, Life Is Beautiful seems to occur within two time frames–before the concentration camp and the concentration camp. Fargo appears to take place over only a couple days. The Godfather, on the other hand, spans several years over several time frames.

Using specific examples from one of the films, how does the film’s director and editors manage to indicate the passage of time. How long do you think the film or time frame within the film runs from start to finish. Why? What evidence from the film can you use to support your claim? (For example, how long were they prisoners in the concentration camp in Life Is Beautiful? How long was Michael Corleone in Italy?)

11 comments for “Blog Prompt #2 (2/6/2018)

  1. Carolynn Fisher
    February 4, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    The passage of time is managed in many ways when editing films. In some films, the date is shown on screen, while others might show a calendar or a clock. Life is Beautiful had a smoother transition, showing the new couple going through a door and fading to their young son coming back out – signaling that several years had passed. In The Godfather, the passage of time is mostly noted by changing seasons, time markers in the script of the movie and important life events we see onscreen such as weddings, the births of children, and deaths.
    For instance, it is warm at the beginning of the movie, obviously spring. One character states that it’s almost 1946, and then comes Christmas – meaning that the New Year will be 1946. Based on the change in scenery (ie. Christmas lights and bows are now missing), Michael Corleone murders his enemies and leaves town at the beginning of 1946.
    The other characters say out loud that he will need to leave for at least a year, indicating that it will be at least 1947 by the time he returns. Immediately after Michael kills the police captain, several news headlines come onscreen noting the progress that is being made in the investigation, and eventually that Vito Corleone has returned home. While it can’t be read unless paused, the article states that he has made great progress in the “last 12 weeks,” giving us the impression that about 3 months has passed and it is now close to March.
    We also see Michael flee to Sicily, court Appolonia and eventually marry her, and then witness her death. Based on the amount of time that has passed by all of these events, it is obviously around 1948. Later, Michael reunites with Kay and tells her he has been back for more than a year, pulling our timeline closer to 1950. Michael and Kay are then shown onscreen with their preschool aged son, showing the passage of at least 4 or 5 more years when Vito dies and the aftermath of his funeral occurs.
    Based on all of this, I would estimate that Connie’s wedding occurred in 1945. Coming full circle, Michael ended their marriage at the end of the film in about 1955, indicating 10 years has passed in the film.

  2. Lilly Lightsey
    February 5, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    It is quite hard to say with complete accuracy how long The Godfather actually spans, but it is obviously many years. While the movie does not come right out and say it has been years or even really address what month or day it is, by watching some things that happen throughout the movie we can take a guess.
    One of the most obvious things that proves The Godfather spans years is Don Vito Corleone aging and eventually passing away. At the start of the movie when we first see him, he is old. His hair is gray in places, but still has dark spots. However, shortly before he passes away, Don Vito’s hair becomes totally gray and his face starts to wrinkle. His voice also becomes more horse.
    There are also many season changes. At the wedding scene at the start of the movie, it is obviously summer or spring as the women are wearing spring/summer dresses. Though around the time Don Vito is shot, it is Christmas time. Michael and Kay discuss Christmas as it snows on them and Christmas music plays. Even when Don Vito is hospitalized, the outside of the hospital is still decorated with Christmas lights. And as Michael stands outside the hospital, his breath can be seen. By the time Michael and his brothers plan the attack on Sollozzo and McCluskey, snow can be seen melting around their house. When Don Vito gets to come home it is once again sunny and the trees are green. The women of the family are wearing dresses again. The little kids have on shorts. When Sonny goes to beat his sister’s husband, it still appears to be summer. Kids are wearing shorts and playing in the water out on the street.
    By the time Kay comes to ask about Michael, she is wearing an overcoat and a hat, hinting that it may be cooling down. Then when Michael finally sees Kay again, all the kids she is with have on coats and fur accessories. There are dead leaves on the ground though some of the trees still have leaves in them. Finally, in the scene where Don Vito passes away while playing with Anthony, it is warm again. The plants in the garden are growing and Anthony is wearing shorts.
    Kay and Michael’s relationship also gives us an idea of how much time has passed. When Michael is back from Italy and he runs into Kay she asks him how long he has been back. Michael tells her that he has been back a year or longer than that. They have their discussion and the next time we see them Kay has had Anthony. Anthony, while still young, appears to be three years old or so.
    We can also judge time by guessing at how long Michael was in Italy. In Italy Michael meets Apollonia and marries her. While meeting her and their marriage only take a few minutes of movie run time, Michael, Apollonia, and the other characters change clothes and hairstyle, indicating it is a different day. Due to the traditional nature of Apollonia’s father, he would not have let her get married in a few days. So we will give it a year or so. When Apollonia is being taught to drive by Michael, he jokes about teaching her English. Apollonia spoke no English, but by this point speaks some English. Learning another language takes some time. I would say it has been a few months of her learning. All and all I would say Michael spent at least two years in Italy.
    With all these factors taken into consideration I would say that The Godfather spans somewhere between ten and fifteen years. Between the season doing a complete cycling, watching Don Vito age, children being born, and Michael spending his two years in Italy, I say ten to fifteen years it long enough to allow all of those to happen in a natural order and time frame.

  3. Samantha Fox
    February 6, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    The movie “The Godfather” shows several years of time in only about one hundred and seventy eight minutes. The director does an amazing job showing the span of time by the changes of seasons and by adding more kids every time the family gets together. Although there is no way of telling the span of time through the movie we know it goes on through several years. One good way they show the passage of time is by changing the seasons through the movie. You can tell the seasons have changed because the clothing of the characters changes from warm clothes to cool clothes and back and forth for the duration of the movie. Another way that you can tell a lot of time has passed is by watching the health of Don Corleone. In the start of the movie Don is as healthy as a man of his age can be while in about the middle of the movie he gets shot down. After that the movie shows him getting better so you can tell time is progressing as he is. Near the end of the movie Don dies. Another big thing the director does to show the passage of time is the kids that are added every time the entire family gets together. Connie Corleone is getting married in the first scene of the movie and by the end of the movie she has a child with him. Also in the beginning of the movie Michael is with a girl named Kay, by about the middle he has to hideout in Sicily and ends up marrying a Sicilian woman. When Michael gets the news about sonny, his brother, being assassinated he returns home. When he goes to return home his wife is murdered. Later on in the movie he goes back to find Kay and ends up having two kids with her by the end of the movie. The amount of kids added shows that years have had to pass. When Don Corleone dies, he falls over in the garden while playing with Michael’s boy who has to be at least three years old.

  4. February 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    In order to capture the time arrangement and progression in a particular film, an individual must undergo a thorough analysis depicting little details that acts as textual evidence to reveal what the time frame may be. In the film Life is Beautiful written and directed by Roberto Remigio Benigni, the time progression is over the span of a few years. I came to this assumption based off of key details. To start with, at the beginning of the film Guido tries to win over his love “Dora” by accidentally bumping into her publicly on multiple occasions. Within what seems like a year or so, the two lovers get married. The next time frame we see is the life of the couple with their young 4 or 5-year-old son. By the time they go to the concentration camp it looks like spring time. They have on lighter clothing while outside. By the time they finally go to the concentration camp, it still looks like springtime. It all happened so quickly and the people of the town still wore the same type of clothing. I would say that this all happened within a month or less. Guido continuously talks to his son about winning the prize tank by earning a lot of points. For his son to be so intrigued, this must have happened rather quickly; in order for him to remember it, he still has an ambitious and eager spirit of winning. A child does not have much patience when it comes to a lot of things. In order for his son to have not given up, the time frame of being in the concentration camp had to last little timing like a month. The season did not change, for it still looked like it was only slightly chilly from their light, airy clothing.
    The director indeed shows how little time has passed from the midpoint of the film to the end based on no age progression. By the time Guido and Dora have their son and he’s about 5 years old, they do not show any sign of aging. Their son still remains a young boy before the concentration camp and even after it is over. It’s interesting how a person can pick up on these small cues to encipher when a film started and how much time has passed in between.  

  5. Kymberly Conaway
    February 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Managing the transition of time in the film can be done in many ways. In Life is Beautiful, a major indicator of a time-lapse is when the couple goes into the greenhouse then in the next frame their son walks out of the same door. It is appropriate to assume that years have passed between the scenes because in the first scene the wife was not pregnant and they had just gotten together then in the second scene the child is about 4 years-old. Another passage of time is when they were in the concentration camps and you can physically see the transitions from day and night. They also show the passing of the time by showing the collection of Jewish people until the liberation of the camps. Guido and his family are taken on Giosue’s birthday but while they were in the concentration camp they did not mention another birthday. This could imply that they were not in the camp for a year instead they were there for several months. Towards the end of the film, Guido tells Giosue to stay in a metal box and not to come out until no one is around. In those scenes, we see time pass because when he initially hid in the box it was night time then when he came out of the box it was morning.

  6. Anthony Hanks
    February 6, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Sitting back and actually thinking about the amount of time that passes in a movie is rather difficult it seems. I was thinking about the movie Fargo and it seems like it takes place over no more than the course of a week. There are a few key elements that pointed me to this conclusion, the first being seeing different characters drinking their morning cup of coffee, or when Norm gets up to make Marge some eggs and jump her police car off. Another indication was when GMAC gives Jerry a 24 hour deadline to get the car info to them and then the next day he is back talking to the company about the same problem indicating that a day has passed. You also see Jerry coming home several times for the night either carrying in groceries after work or just coming home because his son was at the house. Marge also shows up in Jerry’s office on two separate days throughout the movie to question him. Therefore there are several key scenes that point to a new day in this movie, so I am giving the time span over the course of the movie no more than a week.

  7. Kallen A. Miles
    February 6, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    In Life is Beautiful, the passage of time within the film is represented by subtle scene changes that show that the characters in the film are in different stages or periods in the film’s time. The first (and most obvious) example of this would be the scene in which Guido and his wife, Dora walk into the the greenhouse. There are small changes in the lighting during this scene and as the camera pans back to the entrance of the greenhouse, we see that Dora and Guido have a son. He is a young boy, about three to four years old, which shows that there hasn’t been a drastic change in time. Other things that show the change of time in this scene are the signs and symbols written in Italian on shops. This signifies that the shops are either Jewish owned or that Jews must stay out of them. Using that knowledge, it is possible that World War II and the beginning of Jewish concentration camps are happening. Another example of time change is when it becomes known that Guido’s family was sent to a camp on his son’s birthday. Since then there have been no other expressions of time change. Because there is no scene in which a significant age progression takes place, it is safe to assume that everyone inside (and alive), were only there for a couple of months. The burning of Nazi files at the end of the movie, as well as the emergence of American soldiers coming to liberate people from the camps signify the ending of the war and the end of the movie.

  8. Justin Boneparte
    February 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Reflecting on the movie Fargo, it seems to all take place within a seven to ten day time frame. When the movie first begins Jerry is hiring hitmen to kidnap his wife and to ask her father for ransom. That same evening, Jerry goes home to his family and seems to be shocked that his father in law is visiting. The movie then shows the next 2-3 days, by showing Jerry having breakfast, and Jerry at work on two separate occasions. By the third time Jerry is at work, the hired kidnappers have his wife. This same day Jerry goes home and practices making a frantic phone call that his wife has been kidnapped. The next day comes up and shows Marge getting a call and getting up, she is informed of a homicide. The kidnappers call Jerry this same day to make him aware that blood has been shed and that they wanted more money. During the different scenes we also see the kidnappers, Jerry and Marg all travel between different cities. I assume this travel time accounts for maybe two or three days. In the final day or two Jean’s dad decide he will take the ransom money, he is shot at the scene. The kidnapper takes the money and drives away to stash it on the side of the road. After the money is stashed he meets his partner in the same day to give him a cut but he is then murdered. Marge arrives at the meeting spot and catches the other kidnapper putting a body into a wood chipper. He was placed under arrest and taken in. Later in the same day Jerry was arrested as well. This movie could have taken place in a matter of a week. I am giving the movie a ten day time frame just to allow for the travel time or the many characters in cars driving to other cities.

  9. Michael Anzalone
    February 6, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    There are a lot of nuances to showing or insinuating the passage of time throughout a film. In the film Life Is Beautiful, the first act of the movie details Guido moving into the new city, getting a job and cultivating new relationships such as with Dora. Based on how he developed in his job as a server and his interactions with Dora, it can be assumed that the entire act took place between a handful of weeks to a few months.
    The largest time lapse within the film takes place in between the first and second acts, after Guido takes Dora home from the wedding. He brings her into the greenhouse and—while the scene never changes—the difference in the characters before and after they are in the greenhouse indicates a drastic change in time. Guido and Dora are now married and have a four-year-old son, insinuating that there was at least a four- to five-year period of time that was not shown on screen. This is used to avoid filler scenes and provide a quick and efficient segue into the primary conflict of the film: living as a Jewish person during World War II and being sent to a concentration camp.
    While at the concentration camp, Guido’s “game” that he creates for his son Giosuè is likely the best way to view the progression of time through the final act. Guido states that the game ends when someone reaches 1000 points. On the first night, Guido tells his son that they have earned 50 points. Another day he tells Giosuè they have earned 60 points together. Based on this information and the increasing doubt shown by Giosuè’s dialogue, it is likely that their time in the concentration camp was more than just the few days they depicted in scenes of the film but likely within a month.

  10. Shemar Muirhead
    February 8, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Managing the transition of time can either make or break the authenticity or realistic perception of a film by the audience. The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola is a film that transitions time through various means and methods. In the early stages of the film we see where Vito Corleone was requested a favor by Johny whom had difficulty getting a much desired role in a movie that could uplift his career to new highs. Time elapses subtly as Don Corleone asks his trusted “lawyer” to help Johny land the spot and we eventually see a shot of an airplane landing in California and later Don Corleone’s lawyer locates the producer responsible for denying Johny of his well desired role. The film also undergoes more obvious transitions in time as seasons change throughout its progression. The bright lighting shown at the beginning of the film at the wedding would suggest to the audience that it was evidently summer time. This is reinforced with the cheerful dressing worn by all those in attendance as well as the fact that the weather must have been excellent if the wedding was held outdoors instead of an enclosed venue. Later in the film when Don Corleone was hospitalised after his failed hit we see where it is evidently winter as the breaths of several characters are noticed when they are outside as well as their attire now includes winter jackets to give them warmth. A more dramatic transition in time is that after the hit on Don Corleone, Michael sends Kay away to safety. Kay is not seen again until after Michael murdered Sollozzo and Mark McCluskey and fled to Sicily. She visited the Corleone Residency in an attempt to get a letter to Michael in order to prove her love and devotion for him. Michael on the other hand did what he could to adjust himself in Sicily. This would be meeting and marrying Apollonia and eventually losing her in a devastating car bomb. Approximately a year would have elapsed before Michael would return to the US. He would eventually be reunited with Kay and it would not be very long before they were to be wed.

  11. Glenn Walters
    February 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    In Life is Beautiful the passing of time is so subtle that viewers can easily miss the change. The directors ensure the viewer is aware of the transition due to the incoropration of new characters, occupation changes etc. This first example of this is the scene of Guido house after he whisks Dora away from her wedding. After they go inside the frame and picture remain the same showing Guidos uncles house. However, their son is the first to enter the scene. This inadvertently tells the viewer that Guido and Dora got married and had a child indicating the passage of one to two years. The second instance is shown after Guido hints at the possibility in the beginning of the movie of owning a bookstore. Guido tries to apply for a loan to buy a bookstore however the secretary tells him he will have to wait years and they refuse his offer. Later, after Giouse is born he and his father go to open up said bookstore. This implies Guido bequeathed to the secretary demands and waited the allotted amount of time to finally get a loan. The last scene where Guiose hides from the Nazis is the last and perfect example of a time lapse. Guido tells Guiose to hide until the bad men are gone. Guiose then hides in the safe for what appears to be a few days. The time frame was meant to represent days as we see Guiose enter the safe at night and the soldiers arrive next morning. Also the prisoners in Life is Beautiful only stayed within the concentration for a few months at in accordance with the time frame which put them occupants in the camp for the few months around the end of the Holocaust.

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