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« Tout ce qui bouge sur un écran est du cinéma. » (Jean Renoir)

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Fabrizio Prada, Tiempo Real (Real Time), 2002

Tiempo real was all shot in one take.

Tiempo Real is set in real time. The sequence of events lasts as long as the movie. The characters live, rob, intrigue, suspect, kill, die, escape and betray as time elapses. Time and its continuous actions are captured by a hidden camera that serves as an additional character, walking by their side, climbing on autos, running, entering and leaving homes without a single cut during the entire movie, achieving a continual sequence of 86 minutes. Everything transpires as in real life, without edits, and without manipulating the duration.

A band of thieves, disguised with security uniforms and with the help of an inside man, rob money from an armored truck. Motivated by the woman of one of them, the two leaders have more ambitious plans: end up with all of the money if they survive.

A Hugo Stieglitz & Associates/Cesar Balestra/La Peluda Films/Cinema Prada production. Produced by Hugo Stieglitz, Cesar Balestra, Fabrizio Prada. Directed by Fabrizio Prada. Screenplay, Renato and Fabrizio Prada.
With: Jorge Carillo, Enrique Rendon, Raul Ranstamariia, Leticia Valenzuela, Monica Valle, Waldo Facco, Felix Losano, Carlos Ortega. (Spanish dialogue.)

Shot in one long continuous take (hence the title), "Real Time" creates surprising levels of tension as the viewer is dragged through 15 locations, tagging along with a gang of foul-mouthed creeps as they pull off a heist and, one by one, knock each other off. The choreography of the camera takes center stage, its forward-thinking ingenuity contrasting greatly with the crass stupidity of the greedy, rats-in-a-maze characters. Sure to delight video game enthusiasts and DV techies, this ambitiously grungy heist film seems a natural for homevid.

A team of armed guards picks up money at a warehouse, while its gregarious leader Blondie chats with all and sundry. The camera focuses on the men and moves ahead as they pile back into the armored truck, and then make the switch to an unmarked van, at which point it becomes clear that this is no normal delivery day.

The first one to get rubbed out is the inside man, Blondie. Unfortunately, Blondie was the only thug to supply any color or conversation — the rest of the robbers' idea of social intercourse consists almost exclusively of macho posturing and belittling each others' sexual performance and/or preference.

Two hothead junior members of the gang follow shortly, felled by lethally spiked Cuba Libras. The last men standing are two oldtimers, an unappetizing duo, one fat and one lean, who proceed to betray each other and self-destruct like clockwork. One throws in with the other's wife while her severely retarded daughter provides an ironic money-burning coda.

The cast is composed of stage performers who bring no quirkiness or humor to offset the one-note script. Virgin helmer Fabrizio Prada apparently thought giving the gang members any personality, sympathy or humor would detract from the fun of watching them get offed.

Though at the other end of the spectrum, generically and class-wise, from Sukharov's sumptuous "Russian Ark," the insistently experimental single-take overlay of Prada's "Real Time" could turn even a diehard action junkie into a pointy-headed cineaste. Without involving characters or dialogue, the viewer becomes very conscious of the camera. The choice of which character to track and whether to precede or follow him generates much more suspense than anything happening in the script.

The plot developments are deliberately telegraphed and characters' double-crossings are visible miles off. The audience's sense of superiority is constantly fed by its ability to see what the characters can't see. Complicit in the anticipation and catharsis of each wipeout, the viewer is left with no one to identify with, save the camera.

Prada and cinematographer Everado Gonzalez keep the action flowing nervously. The complicated logistics of pulling off a heist and experiencing an aftermath —which both occur in real time —prove more fascinating than one might imagine. Still, one wonders what pic might have been like if the action was staged with more nuanced characters and fewer predictable twists, a film whose payoffs were not, like a video game, so predetermined.

Camera (color, video), Everado Gonzalez; music, Eliseo Hernandez; art director, Ixchel Prada; sound, Amador del Solar; associate producer, Cesar Vergara. Reviewed at La Cinema Fe, New York, Feb. 11, 2003. Running time: 87 MIN.

Review By Ronnie Scheib, In "Variety Reviews", http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117920226?refcatid=31

L'histoire se déroule en temps réel en un plan séquence de 86 mn dans 15 lieux différents tourné le 16 décembre 2003.

Site Officiel en espagnol : http://www.tiempo-real.net/

Synopsis : Une bande de voleurs, se faisant passer pour des agents de sécurité, réussit, avec l'aide d'un complice à l'intérieur d'un entrepôt, à dérober une forte somme d'argent.
Poussés par la femme de l'un d'entre eux, deux leaders vont avoir des plans plus ambitieux : garder la totalité du butin. S'ils y survivent...

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