Where does continuity stand?

Ever since American film theorist David Bordwell stated the idea of “Intensified Continuity“, filmmakers have followed the rule of intensified continuity editting for nearly one hundred years. Things have changed when Denson and Leyda(2016) defined post-continuity as “how … 21st-century media help to shape and reflect new forms of sensibility”.

Steven Shaviro’s lecture video gives the differences between ‘continuity’ and ‘post-continuity’ in respect of narrative, structure, spacetime, causality as well as perception. This reminds me of a video called Shanghai Forever which I think resembles the idea of post-continuity in some degree.

The director JT Singh, according to the video, is an urbanist and media artist. In stead of shooting landmarks or tourist area, Shanghai Forever emphasizes people and things about life, which generates a whole new city symphony.

Alongside the unique representation, this short video was filmed in a dispersed way. There’s only a glimpse of shots; viewers won’t feel Euclidean spacetime like that was applied in most classical Hollywood films; the continuity is incidential, connected by scattered images from the same city. Audience’s sensation towards this film is just like they state themselves, “with JT’s riveting visual storytelling, viewers experience a series of impressions around historic shikkumen neighbourhoods, which foster a network of real-life experiences, memories, and encounters with locals, which are the tender heart keeping the city alive and charming to live in. “(JT, 2016)
So where does continuity stands? If I take this video as an example of post-continuity, the continuity stands as we understand what this video is about. I’ll finish with a quote from The Lumiere Galaxy.

We recognize identity based on difference. In this way, we allow cinema to continue to live. It is cinema precisely because it asks us to recognize it on the basis of how it diverges from what went before.(Casetti, 2015)


Denson, S. and Leyda, J. (2016). Post-cinema. 1st ed.

CML – 19 – Steven Shaviro: Post-Continuity and Post-Irony: The New Audiovisual Regime. (2014). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY7knRMF2NI [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].

Casetti, F. (2015). The Lumiere Galaxy: 7 Key Words for the Cinema to Come. pp.211

Written by Huiyuan Zhou


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