The Intensity of Recollection-Images in Suspicious River and The Law of Enclosures

Public Deposited
Resource Type
  • There is a long tradition of film scholarship dealing with the representation of time in cinema, generally focusing on the techniques that signify more or less explicitly temporal shifts in the unfolding of the narrative. Some of these critical approaches to the representation of time are useful in untangling the sometimes extremely complex imbrications of past, present, and future displayed in contemporary films such as Irreversible, Memento, Run Lola Run, and Caché where causality and chronology can prove ostentatiously deconstructed. However, few film scholars have paid attention to films that conceal temporal layering behind the guise of mundane realism. Seemingly simple films such as Lynne Stopkewich’s Suspicious River (2000) and John Greyson’s Law of Enclosures (2000) appear on the surface to be concerned only with the day-to-day existence of ordinary people living in “ordinary times”. However, upon closer inspection, these Canadian productions and other similar films construct an experience of time that is far more ambivalent than initially assumed. This dissertation intends to develop an analytical model for such films based on some aspects of Henri Bergson’s philosophy of time. Using this Bergsonian lens, I intend to show how virtually imperceptible juxtapositions of temporal frames are used in these films to evoke the simultaneous experience of past and present. Focusing primarily on Suspicious River and The Law of Enclosures, this dissertation examines how representations of memory and the act of remembrance evoke Bergson’s theory that events run into each other without specific points of transition. The notion of number-based symbolic time in Suspicious River, The Law of Enclosures, and other similar films is challenged by the experience of interior time. Consequently, recollection is not treated as a means by which to understand the present, but as a fluid layering of time that resists symbolic, linear, and quantitative progression. The past is not treated as a means to determine the destiny of the lead character; the past is not reduced to a representation of what is logically antecedent to the present; rather, it has been actualized horizontally in present-time.

Thesis Degree Level
Thesis Degree Name
Thesis Degree Discipline
Rights Notes
  • Copyright © 2016 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2016


In Collection: