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Backwards Sequencing

October 23, 2013 by   

I fell in love with this video when it came out in the Spring, and not just because it’s a perfect visual companion to the song. The video uses a backwards sequencing of events to create the dynamic flow – reverse chronological order. This is a technique used before in movies like Memento, and Irreversible, and Betrayal all though I’ve never been able to find a copy of that last film. The first two are obviously must-sees if you haven’t already, and I’ve heard Betrayal is too but I’ve never wanted to pay $80 for a VHS copy of it to find out. What I think is wild about this video is that they use this specific cinematic trick to make a four minute video utterly compelling. It’s amazing to see it work so well in such a short amount of time, although there is also that great episode of Seinfeld where they pull it off too – but still not this short amount of time.

It makes me wonder how this technique would work in a documentary format. If the most shocking part of a story is the introduction, then would it potentially be possible to film and chronicle peoples’s reactions without actually revealing the event they’re discussing or reacting to? The best part of this video and any format of film using this technique is that your first reaction when it ends is to immediately watch it all over again.

1 Comment »

  1. says:

    This video is amazing! I think it is an interesting concept to try and pull off in a documentary. To some degree this actually happens a lot in documentary, though not in the same respect as this video or the movies you mention.

    Often a documentary will begin with the outcome of the story, whatever degree of revelatory it may be (shocking, sad, happy), and then it will stop and someone will ask a question that basically amount to: How did things come to this?

    I actually feel like this happens to a certain degree in both Man on Wire and Fog of War. Both kinda show the thing that happened or is happening at the beginning and then cut to how it got there. Mcnamara says generals make mistakes in applying power. He’s said they’ve killed people unnecessarily. So we already know what’s happened, but we don’t know how it happened. The same with Man on Wire. We already see the big moment of breaking into the WTC happening, so we know he is able to pull off at least getting in there, but we don’t know what lead up to that moment.

    I know it’s not the same thing as telling the entire story in a reverse fashion, but it feels similar because they both leave you asking questions?

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