12 Monkeys

Untangling time

Following our re-watch of Twelve Monkeys, I thought there would be interest in getting some insight into theories of time. This question will come up again when we screen Arrival (2016).

One thing to think about now is whether any of the these theories are helpful in making sense of the narrative in Twelve Monkeys.

First, here is a Guardian science podcast that features a conversation with different physicists about their, often competing, theories of time. The podcast is just under 35 minutes.

Second, this interview with physicist Carlo Rovelli about his new book, The Order of Time, addresses his view that time is simply a way of expressing how humans experience the universe. What makes this interesting in the context of Twelve Monkeys is that he argues that time is always a story we tell ourselves, and not just when we might be "mentally divergent."

Twelve Monkeys: repetition

One theme in the Post-Film Writing this week is the use of repeating elements between times and places, not only visually, but also with sound,  in Twelve Monkeys, particularly to raise questions about Cole's perception of reality. What kind of repeating elements did you notice in the film? Which ones were most effective in making you doubt Cole's perceptions about himself and what he's doing? Which ones did you simply appreciate aesthetically or formally?


Notes for re-watch of Twelve Monkeys

Here is what I have from my notes and the Post-Film Writing:

  • Cole's dream/memory.
  • Parallel shots and recurring images (sounds) in different settings.
  • Use of props as markers of time-space.
  • Use of canted or "Dutch" angles.
  • Landscapes (setting, architecture, decor) in "past" and "present."
  • Scene from Vertigo.

Extreme close-ups in 12 MONKEYS

There are a number of extreme close-ups of James, both as a kid and as an adult, in 12 Monkeys. These shots are focused on his eyes, which virtually fill the screen. What is the significance of these shots, and, even more particularly, what is the significance of using this shot for both versions of Cole? The film makers also feature one, similarly composed, extreme close up of Kathryn. She is waking up, shortly after having been "rescued" from James. What is the significance of this shot? (Looking back over my notes, I was thinking of the use of canted angles for Kathryn).

NOTE: I will try to get screengrabs posted by the beginning of next week. Now, see below.