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In his essay on ‘post-continuity,’ Shaviro posits that traditional continuity editing is of no concern to an action film as long as it delivers “a continual series of shocks to the audience” (Shaviro, Post-Continuity). He asserts further that continuity is not necessary to the modern audience because the immediacy and shock of these kinds of scenes is of the most primal importance. In so doing, he makes a claim about modern cinematic viewership, which seems to be that the modern viewer does not have any regard for being spatiotemporally placed, but might rather go to the cinema purely for its experiential quality (at least with regards to the kind of action scene to which Shaviro is referring). That is, rather than serving to show a sequence, a film will rather immerse the viewer in a sequence. In the same way that Griffith’s parallel editing method creates suspense (the same suspense that the characters feel), a heavily-edited, very choppy action sequence might immerse the viewer not only into the fight but also into the nature of that fight, and perhaps into the nature of violence itself.

It would seem too simple (and also wrong) to claim that discontinuitous hyper-cutting in a post-continuity cinematic world exclusively gives the viewer an immersive feeling of ‘being there,’ as this quality can too easily be attributed to films that are parts of other cinematic eras or epistemes (which Shaviro uses to refer to differing cinematic ‘times’ which can be grouped together when seen as parts of specific knowledge-structures). In regards to Inland Empire Zoran Samardzija puts forth an argument that takes in to consideration the technological context of the current cinematic episteme, which is that Lynch’s connection to the internet and the internet itself can inform the narrative system of the film. He cites Dennis Lim’s metaphor of cinematic hyperlinks, which posits that Inland Empire’s narrative structure can be viewed as perhaps a series of hyperlinked stories and plots, as he does not find any other way of connecting any other parts of the diegesis. That is, he asserts that connections between disjointed parts of the film can be made through the references that one part might make to the next, and how certain parts use others to shift between one another. He goes further to posit that perhaps this kind of film can be seen as a “newer media form,” that is as a film that is not just a film (Zoran Samardzija, Auteurship in the Age of the Internet and Digital Cinema).

Inland Empire not only hyperlinks occurrences in its diegesis but also collapses spatiotemporal linearity in that it seems to be able to compress and expand these aspects at will. This can be seen at the point during which Nikki realizes that she was the distraction that appeared on set during the rehearsal, and also in the fact that she seems to be moving quite regularly in between California and Poland. This is all enhanced by the fact that Nikki slips into Sue to the point that she eventually gives birth to her at a point in the film. Several of the film’s themes (fame, Hollywood, filmmaking, etc.) feed into the hyperlinked spatiotemporal collapsing world of the film as the films uses these as the very agents of the expansions and compressions of time and space. (This causes Samardzija to note that the film itself can also be seen as pointing certain fingers at the medium of film itself and what it and its industry can do to people).

The most recent episode of the web series Zhe Zhe (which also addresses similar thematic issues as Inland Empire) gradually compresses diegetic spatiotemporality in a similar fashion that Inland Empire does. The episode takes place entirely in the two main characters’ living room, while the role of the establisher of space and time is given solely to the television that the characters are watching. The television transmits a special on the History Channel about parties, shows and art gallery openings that happened only four hours previous to when it was originally broadcast, prompting one of the characters being interviewed on the special to state in a television interview “I think the world was more innocent four hours ago.” On Zhe Zhe, culture moves, transforms, and is ‘created’ at such a rapid pace that it is consumed, reformed, and then preserved and broadcast on to television within a matter of hours. The episode’s spatiotemporal collapse comes to its climax at the very end when one of the characters (who has been watching the television this whole time, and who longs for this recognition) ends up watching herself watching herself being broadcast on the television.

Both Inland Empire and Zhe Zhe can be seen as examples of media that lay out (as Leo stated in class) spatiotemporal events on a plane all the while still seemingly showing a progression of events. That is, they both utilize their medium’s ability to compress and expand occurrences in space and time to depict events in the diegesis and more importantly to conceive of these events as occurrences that can be simultaneously experienced.

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