Splitscreen: A Love Story

"Can two people who live on opposite sides of the world have anything in common? Love prevails."

Splitscreen: A Love Story is a short film directed by James W. Griffiths about the parallel lives of a man and a woman who live in different continents and the trip that brings them together. Shot entirely on a mobile phone, the short uses a split screen format to present the lives of the two lovers simultaneously. The two shots were conceived matching alignment and pace, creating the illusion of a space divided into two parts that maintain a link to each other, which is coherent with the idea of presenting the complementing narrative points of view of two lovers.

Staged in urban spaces (from Paris, New York and London) and inside planes, Splitscreen: A Love Story features two main characters, a romantic theme and an emphasis on playing with framing and continuity. A false spatial continuity is built through the matching shots of the split screen while temporal continuity is often created when elements from one of the shots is synchronized with an element from the other shot (for ex. the motion of the subway train at 0m28s).

The aesthetic pays good attention to framing and composition of elements while trying to maintain symmetry, alignment or matching of elements between the two parts of the split screen. Color palettes vary through the shots, together with iconography they’re employed to convey the countries where they were filmed in. The split screen aesthetic plays a prominent role in the film and helps bring closure to it.

Visual rhythm is high, provided through editing, motion within the frame, camera moves, etc. The split screen aesthetic helps potentiate visual rhythm.

Splitscreen: A Love Story was shot using Nokia N8 mobile phones and a Steadicam Smoothee. Plus two car mounts to attach the phones to the windscreen of the cars that were used to make the film.

What makes the short work so well? Original use of split screen, constant surprises created through an unusual aesthetic, playful editing and continuity, a long-distance love story that will appeal to a wide audience and an ending that brings a smile.

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