A Pattern Language





‘[...] 110. MAIN ENTRANCE
111. HALF-HIDDEN ENTRANCE
112. ENTRANCE TRANSITION
113. CAR CONNECTION
114.HIERARCHY OF OPEN SPACE
115. COURTYARDS WHICH LIVE
116. CASCADE OF ROOFS
117. SHELTERING ROOF
118. ROOF GARDEN
[...]
127. INTIMACY GRADIENT
128. INDOOR SUNLIGHT
129. COMMON AREAS AT THE HEART
130. ENTRANCE ROOM
131. THE FLOW THROUGH ROOMS
132. SHORT PASSAGES
133. STAIRCASE AS A STAGE
134. ZEN VIEW
135. TAPESTRY OF LIGHT AND DARK
[...] 
141. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN
142. SEQUENCE OF SITTING SPACES
143. BED CLUSTER
[...]
159. LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF EVERY ROOM
[...]
179. ALCOVES
180. WINDOW PLACE
181. THE FIRE
182. EATING ATMOSPHERE
183. WORKSPACE ENCLOSURE
184. COOKING LAYOUT
185. SITTING CIRCLE
186. COMMUNAL SLEEPING
187. MARRIAGE BED
188. BED ALCOVE
189. DRESSING ROOM
[...]
190. CEILING HEIGHT VARIETY
191. THE SHAPE OF INDOOR SPACE
192. WINDOWS OVERLOOKING LIFE
[...]


204. SECRET PLACE


At this stage, you have a complete design for an individual building. 


253. THINGS FROM YOUR LIFE’


Alexander, D (1977) A Pattern Language Oxford: Oxford University Press








We could apply these ingredients to an analysis of film, the film also containing short passages, a tapestry of light and dark, a room of one’s own (time for the viewer to contemplate a rapid previous sequence, perhaps), an intimacy gradient through which exposition is provided in increasing measure, and so forth.


‘112. ENTRANCE TRANSITION
[...]
'Buildings, and especially homes, with a graceful transition between the street and the inside, are more tranquil than those which open directly off the street.
‘The experience of entering a building influences the way you feel inside the building. If the transition is too abrupt there is no feeling of arrival, and the inside of the building fails to be an inner sanctum.’


But what happens when a film begins abruptly, in medias res? Then there is little provision of entrance transition. Perhaps this type of sudden transition announces there will be no offer of inner sanctum in the film. However, it could be argued that the route into the cinema, the darkened auditorium, or the designation of time ‘to watch a film’ act as entrance transitions. If the film begins in medias res, the contrast between entrance transitions pre-projection and the lack of thereafter turns the experience into an encounter, ‘encounter’: a meeting of adversaries, in ‘in-‘ and against ‘contra' . 


'204. SECRET PLACE
‘Where can the need for concealment be expressed; the need to hide; the need for something precious to be lost, and then revealed?
[...]
‘There is a strong support for the reality of this need in Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space [...]:


“With the theme of drawers, chests, locks and wardrobes, we shall resume contact with the unfathomable store of daydreams of intimacy.
“[...] A lock is a psychological threshold.”’




The 'Secret Place' of a film is in its twists of plot, kept locked until we turn a corner in the diegesis and discover them. 'Secret Places' may also be the levels – shelves and drawers – of meaning stored in it, ready to be accessed by the audience. 


'253. THINGS FROM YOUR LIFE
[...]
‘It is most beautiful when it comes straight from your life – the things you care for, the things that tell your story.’


Likewise, a film often strikes an audience most profoundly when it gives them the opportunity to project their own ideas onto its – even through the simple means of making the duration of a shot generously long to allow time for thought. If the film offers too little descriptiveness, too little detail, the audience may not be inspired to imagine, but conversely, if the film is too prescriptive in its imagery and narrative, the audience might feel unable to wander. As Bachelard says in The Poetics of Space:


‘I alone, in my memories of another century, can open the deep cupboard that still retains for me alone that unique odour, the odour of raisins drying on a wicker tray. [...] But I’ve already said too much. [The reader – or audience – needs space to leave off reading and start] to think of some place in his own past’.