Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media



Personal Time in Alternative and Time Travel Narrative: The Cases of Groundhog Day, Twelve Monkeys and 2001: A Space Odyssey

Elisa Pezzotta


Abstract: In alternative and time travel narratives, our everyday conception of time is often challenged. Similarly, in counterfactual history, various parallel realities exist. In time travel narrative, it is possible to travel in the past or in the future. In all of these cases, there are clues that help viewers to comprehend new ideas of time and, in some cases, the construction of the story time is not sufficient to comprehend the story. In order to solve some of the main logical paradoxes, personal time needs to be considered and discussed. In alternative narrative, the clues are often to be found in the plot and story time, as well as in the mise-en-scène. In some examples of counterfactual history, for example Groundhog Day, and in some time travel narratives, the spectator has to reconstruct the time traveller’s personal time through story and plot time and mise-en-scène, as in Twelve Monkeys, or they have to deduce story time from personal time and mise-en-scène, as is the case in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The relationships between plot, story and personal time can be visualized through graphics which can also help us to draw conclusions about A-series and B-series.


Back to article