Week 7 Blog Post

For this week’s assignment, I chose the rotating hallway/floating elevator scene in Inception. This scene utilizes editing and cuts in a very unique way. Through Nolan’s direction, we are able to see what is happening on both levels of the dream world.

The cuts emphasize the movie time, which is unique from pretty much any movie time portrayed in any other film. Every time something happens in the raining city, it affects the reality in the hotel. The editing is done in such a way that we see everything happening in montage form. There isn’t too much mis-en-scene used because that wouldn’t be efficient use of screen time. If mis-en-scene were used exclusively at this point of the movie, it would be almost impossible to follow the relationship between the two dream layers.

Some more spectacular editing is evident in the actual rotating hallway scene. Christopher Nolan is famous for not using greenscreen technology to capture the effects in this movie, and this scene is no exception. This scene has less cuts and creates suspense in the mis-en-scene.

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6 thoughts on “Week 7 Blog Post

  1. The editing really helps make the scene disorienting to go with the dreamy plot. Time is very condensed, which shots lasting only a second or two when the fighting starts. When the man falls down the hall the shot lengthens to make it seem like more time, which also plays up the dream state. The car chases are also rushed in this scene by the extensive use of cuts, until the van rolls over, which is longer and put in slow motion. Then in the second part of the hallway fight, the shots are more drawn out to make the fight scene last longer. The intensity in the long shot is not only seen through the fighting, but also through more dreamlike qualities of zooming and moving on all four sides of the frame.

  2. I think that this sequence contain a unique graphic relation between shots in that when Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character is moved, so is the setting of his dream–so, his body and the setting in the hotel are uniquely graphically related when shots of them are put side by side.

    As for rhythmic relations between shots, since time is slower the deeper one is in the layer of dreams, the shots in the rainy city dream are much shorter in comparison to those of the hotel dream, the deeper layer. While the shots of the bus in the rain are fast paced and there are many, the number of shots in the hotel are sparse and the fighting takes place in longer takes. But what keeps the suspense moving is the dramatic music, wringing on our emotions until it reaches a climax when Levitt’s character shoots the last pursuer.

    Excellent and very unique example of parallel editing.

  3. This scene is absolutely brilliant and it is not just because I’m a big Joseph Gordon Levitt fan. Even with its fast cuts, Christopher Nolan carries an intense and yet rhythmic flow to the scene as what happens in the van directly affects the dream world that the characters find themselves in. Given the situations that both the driver and Levitt’s character are faced with, it is necessary for there to be fast cuts in order to emphasize the fast paced and exhilarating action. However, when the van makes swerving turns, the audience sees the characters (primarily Levitt) sleeping/dreaming in the van in slow motion. Not only does this emphasize the driver’s dramatic maneuvering, but it also shows how helpless Levitt’s character truly is. I found this very interesting as he is in full control in one world and must completely rely on the driver in the other. This is truly irony at its best. In any case, the scene is another great example of editing and I’m glad you posted it!

  4. When I first watched Inception, I was beyond confused at what was going on. Yet, I can still appreciate the great filming of the movie as it plays so well on the different levels of dreams. Each tilt of the van on one level is paired with a tilt in camera angle in the scene of the other level. The characters are pushed by gravity in the scene and it’s bizarre because you feel like you are part of the tilt also. The angles of each shot comes from different sides and the camera travels along with the push and pull to get close up shots and long shots and wide shots. The scene is rich in technique, and the movements from the camera and editing increases the action and enhances the viewing experience. Action scenes these days are all very spectacular, but seeing this one is very impressive.

  5. To start off I just need to add that I am a big fan of this movie. It is a perfect choice for this week’s blog post on cuts because it utilizes a plethora of them. This clip in particular—similar to the majority of the movie—uses short shots. The usage of short shots makes a shot appear very rushed. This demonstrates how important timing is when discussing cuts and their affect on the film. I believe that the rotating hallway aspect is the perfect example of flash frames. This is meant to show the differing perspectives of the characters. The cutting here definitely encompasses spatial relations via spatial manipulation. Even though there is so much going on at once, this permits the viewer to see everything. The job of the spectator is then to put all the shots occurring together to create a spatial whole. This may also be referred to as Kuleshov’s effect.

  6. I almost did this scene just because not only is Inception one of my favorite movies of all time but also Nolan just does an outstanding job of directing the viewer through this intricate piece.

    This scene serves to show the full binding and influence each layer of reality whether in an awake state, dream state, or a dream within a dream state (wow, that’s a lot). I agree with your interpretation of montage between the raining city’s current action an its impact with those being influence by it (the characters sitting in the back of the van).

    Nolan slows down then speeds up his cutting of shots to illustrate how time in an upper layer of dream or awaken state is extended in a sub-state. For example, a car falling off the side of a highway, flipping two times and crashing agaisnt a wall takes what, 8 seconds? Yet in the film, through the use of time editing and montage, Nolan illustrates this idea of extended time by showing the van slowly falling down, all the while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quickly trying to defend himself from an unknown threat.

    Thank god Nolan made this an action film versus a horror film.

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