What Are Some Benefits and Limitations of the Split Screen as a Filmic Device?
Gance used the split-screen spectacularly in the closing sequence to his masterpiece, Napoleon. The use of this technique has never disappeared, but despite a brief flowering in the late sixties and early seventies, it has generally remained a minor trope in the poetics of the moving image. However, it is more in evidence in a range of contemporary films, sometimes as a tour-de-force (Spielman, L, 1999), but more commonly integrated and subordinated within the overall single-screen aesthetic. This resurgence of the split-screen is supported by ongoing cultural changes in the production, distribution and reception of the moving image. The computer desktop, electronic games, television news, print comics and graphic novels have accustomed us to reading the many-windowed visual screen (Rhodes, G.A., 2005).
Spielman, L., "Aesthetic Features in Digital Imaging: Collage and Morph", Wide Angle, Vol. 21, No. 1, (1999)]
Rhodes, G.A., Metonymy in the Moving Image, MFA Dissertation, State University of New York, Buffalo, 2005. Available online at