See the moving picture

FIGURE 5.23

Shooting Real Time and Space

Desperate Poaching Affray

William Haggar, Haggar and Sons, Great Britain, 1903

Desperate Poaching Affray opens with a tour de force of cinematic ingenuity that establishes the film’s concern with the logic and integrity of pro-filmic space. The shot consists of seven “images”: A couple of poachers are examining an empty snare (1-1) when, suddenly, they stash it in the bushes and hasten to conceal themselves in the dense foliage (1-2). Two sets of armed men enter the frame, discover the snare (1-3), and plunge into the forest, heading right to left (1-4). Once they’ve left the scene, the poachers re-emerge and begin running in the opposite direction (1-5), fleeing down the road and scampering over a wide gate (1-6). Apparently having heard them, the armed men re-enter the frame, chase after them down the same road, and climb over the same gate (1-7). All of this action takes place within the same shot, and in order to keep the action within the frame, the camera pans right ([1-5],[1-6]), thus reinforcing the “realism” of the scene by insisting upon showing the spectator an event in “real” time and “real” space.

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