The Tracey Fragments Refragmented

The movie ‘The Tracey Fragments’, directed by Bruce McDonald was released last year (not yet in this part of Europa), to critical acclaim. Not only because it features Indie sweetheart Ellen Page (now in ‘Juno’) and a soundtrack by the Canadian band Collective Broken Social Scene, but thanks to its narrative, that unfolds as a non-chronological series of split-screens frames. Nothing new of course – see for example Pablo Ferra’s cool split-screen scenes in Jewison’s 1968 ‘Thomas Crown affair’, Fleischer’s 1968 ‘the Boston Strangler’, Godard’s 1979 ‘Numero Deux’, and of course the de Palma movies, to name a few. Now there seems to be a comeback, probably influenced by the ’24’ TVseries, the interaction between cinema and comic books and the multi-screen installations that are spreading in art spaces today. Far from ideological or critical motives (split screens f.e. as a way to focus on the mechanics of screen culture by announcing their very constructedness, generating a critical rupture — one that we posit as intrinsic to audiovisual media), here it is supposed to serve as a device to convey the emotions of the main character, “like an echo, or like embroidery. We thought, the more we can experience the world the way little Tracey Berkowitz does, the closer we’ll feel to her romantic notions, her tendency to exaggerate. We want to feel her crisis.” As a reporter from CBS news states: “At various moments, images and dialogue recede, foreground and overlap. The effect is a shattered film for a shattered adolescent psyche”. I’m curious to find out if it really brings something fundamental alternative to the hip pseudo-rebellious teenage angst genre, that is charming the press and audience in the States nowadays.

But anyways. The story has a more interesting dimension:McDonald has also launched Re-Fragmented, an online initiative in which all the footage from the shoot of the film was released (via Bittorrent) for users to download and re-edit their own related projects including music videos, new trailers or to re-edit the entire movie themselves. The Creative Commons licensed initiative also makes available the musical score.

Most of the new versions are assembled here