Genette on Film - Temporal Order and Tense in Non-chronological Cinema

  • James Parsons


Referencing the work of Gérard Genette’s 'Order in Narrative' (1997), this article explores his idea of Anachrony in relation to film.  I will describe how the filmmaker has used the manipulation of narrative chronology to affect the audience and argue that instead of confusing or preventing us from discerning any temporal order within the film, the discerning viewer is still able to infer a form of chrono-logic inherent within the piece.  To do so however, we must accept that, counter to popular assumption, film has no tense; be it past, present or future.  Only then can we fully explore and appreciate the temporal possibilities that cinema has to offer.