Timecode (2000 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Figgis|
|Written by||Mike Figgis (story)|
|Cinematography||Patrick Alexander Stewart|
|Edited by||Mike Figgis|
Red Mullet Productions
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
Timecode is a 2000 American experimental film written and directed by Mike Figgis and featuring a large ensemble cast, including Salma Hayek, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Suzy Nakamura, Kyle MacLachlan, Saffron Burrows, Holly Hunter, Julian Sands, Xander Berkeley, Leslie Mann and Mía Maestro.
The film is constructed from four continuous 93-minute takes that were filmed simultaneously by four cameramen; the screen is divided into quarters, and the four shots are shown simultaneously. The film depicts several groups of people in Los Angeles as they interact and conflict while preparing for the shooting of a movie in a production office. The dialogue was largely improvised, and the sound mix of the film is designed so that the most significant of the four sequences on screen dominates the soundtrack at any given moment.
The film takes place in and around a film production company office, and involves several interweaving plot threads which include a young actress named Rose (Salma Hayek) who tries to score a screen test from her secret boyfriend Alex Green (Stellan Skarsgård), a noted but disillusioned director. Meanwhile, Rose's tryst with him is discovered by her girlfriend Lauren (Jeanne Tripplehorn), an insanely jealous businesswoman who plants a microphone in Rose's purse and spends most of the time in the back of her limousine parked outside the office building listening in on Rose's conversations. Elsewhere, Alex's wife Emma (Saffron Burrows) is seen with a therapist (Glenne Headly) debating about asking him for a divorce. In the meantime, numerous film industry types (played by Xander Berkeley, Golden Brooks, Holly Hunter and Kyle MacLachlan), pitch ideas for the next big hit film.
- Xander Berkeley as Evan Wantz
- Golden Brooks as Onyx Richardson
- Saffron Burrows as Emma
- Viveka Davis as Victoria Cohen
- Richard Edson as Lester Moore
- Aimee Graham as Sikh Nurse
- Salma Hayek as Rose
- Glenne Headly as Dava Adair, Therapist
- Andrew Heckler as Auditioning Actor
- Holly Hunter as Renee Fishbine, Executive
- Danny Huston as Randy
- Daphna Kastner as Auditioning Actress
- Patrick Kearney as Drug House Owner
- Elizabeth Low as Penny, Evan's Assistant
- Kyle MacLachlan as Bunny Drysdale
- Mía Maestro as Ana Pauls
- Leslie Mann as Cherine
- Suzy Nakamura as Connie Ling
- Alessandro Nivola as Joey Z
- Zuleikha Robinson as Lester Moore's Assistant
- Julian Sands as Quentin
- Stellan Skarsgård as Alex Green
- Jeanne Tripplehorn as Lauren
- Steven Weber as Darren
In the first run through, Headly's role as Dava Adair was performed by Laurie Metcalf.
The movie was shot with four hand-held digital cameras, in one take, on the sixteenth performance. Largely improvised, Figgis provided the actors with blank, four-staff music manuscript paper, with each octave representing a camera view at that particular moment in time, up to the 93 minutes of camera capacity. The actors themselves personally kept track of the activities occurring in other camera points of view that were relative to their performance.
Rehearsals were single-take performances, filmed over fifteen days. Filmed in the mornings, with the actors fully involved, the footage was reviewed and discussed in the afternoons. Four separate monitors replayed each camera point of view simultaneously.
The film's action ends with closing activity in three quadrants and the following statement (no capitalization beyond film's title) in the fourth quadrant:
TIME CODE was filmed instructure.
4 continuous takes beginning
at 3:00 pm on friday,
november 19th, 1999.
all of the cast improvised
around a predetermined
An allusion to this film can be heard during Mike Figgis' next film, Hotel (2001). In the first moment the screen is split into four quadrants. The sound of milk being steamed in one quadrant combines with the sound of an actor tapping beats onto a paperback novel in another quadrant to create a very subtle imitation of the sounds and music heard during the first few minutes in Timecode.
- Ebert, Roger (26 April 2000). "Time Code". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
"Time Code" was shot entirely with digital cameras, hand-held, in real time. The screen is split into four segments, and each one is a single take about 93 minutes long. The stories are interrelated, and sometimes the characters in separate quadrants cross paths and are seen by more than one camera
- Williams, Richard (August 11, 2000). "Once upon a Time Code". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013-06-03.