Rhizomatic Cinema

A Thousand Plateaus is rhizomatic in that it can be read in any order which allows for new possibilities and an infinite number of ways of thinking about the material. When considering the chapter on rhizome, and my particular interest in cinema, I’ve wondered if it’s possible to view a film in the same way. Are there films that allow for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points? Certain installation videos seem to allow for this sort of interaction and relationship with the viewer, but what about linear films?

A few of my last short films (The Lead Role, Veterans Affairs, and NYC I-X) were designed with the idea that they could be played in a loop: allowing a viewer to enter the film at any given moment and exit once the film made a full cycle. However, the films are linear in nature and require  a specific amount of time to view. An audience could not exit at any point they choose and still get the any meaning out of the piece. In fact, the main reason they could be considered rhizomatic is that they end where they began and have no real through line.

Filmmakers such as Lynch and Guy Maddin have created some works that really do resist chronology and organization, and their scenes could possibly even be re-organized or re-edited without disturbing the essence or meaning. But, again, is it possible to enter and exit these films at any point in time?

Perhaps the most rhizomatic films (in regards to the relationship between the film and the viewer) are those without a clear chronology or a clear point to make. If this is the case, than perhaps the most rhizomatic film I can think of is this one:

The film’s subject matter seems to augment its ability to establish connections on a planar level.

Posted by: Kenneth Anderson

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2 Responses to “Rhizomatic Cinema”

  1. you didnt undestand the idea of time taht gilles is using , time is not a line… so a linear film cant be a rizomatic film by defintion, search more in experimental films… david lynch yeah u are right , apichatpong too…

  2. Daniel Rocha Says:

    I suggest you watching 21 grams.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315733/

    The scenes of the movie are randomly ordered, so you could, theoretically, re edit it in any other order.

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