DAVID BORDWELL NARRATION IN THE FICTION FILM PDF

About this title Most films tell tales, but what does that involve? How do motion pictures tease us into building what we all agree to call stories? In this study, David Bordwell offers the first comprehensive account of how movies use fundamental principles of narrative representation, unique features of the film medium, and diverse story-telling patterns to construct their fictional narratives. The result is a pioneering, far-reaching work which will change the way we perceive narrative film—and which every serious film scholar, student or fan will welcome.

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Paragraph- initial numbers correspond to the pagination of this edition. Bordwell starts from Formalist aesthetics, which "encourages the breaking of arbitrary boundaries among theory, history, and criticism" There is a relational and functional but not an essential difference between poetic language and practical language.

Sets of conventions, modes, are known to both filmmakers and audiences. There are four major modes: classical narration, art-cinema narration, historical materialist narration, and parametric narration. Mimetic theories of narration PRO version Are you a developer? Mimetic theories of narration take the act of vision as model; perspective is a key term. Stage and perspective in drama, and framing of fiction. Perspective in Antiquity. Western perspective closes off the subject from the object, while "Tarabukin contended that Oriental inverse perspective placed the spectator at the center of a scene that surounded him".

In modern staging, the Renaissance proscenium roughly equals a "windowpane" pictorial perspective. Perspective is a mental, not an optic system. Perspective and Point of View in Literature. Traditionally, mimetic theories have been proposed Henry James, etc. Percy Lubbock places emphasis on the dramatic mode, and opposes it to the pictorial method. The novel is a synthesis of both. Norman Friedman, Wayne Booth and Wolfgang Iser strengthen the pictorial and theatrical analogy; narrative and film are equivalent, 9- "All of which assumes cinema to be yet another perspectival art".

The Invisible Observer Cinema theories, before , are mimetic. An invisible observer is created. Pudovkin, who conceives "an observer ideally mobile in space and time" — equivalent to a narrator, an "all-purpose answer to problems involving space, authority, point of view, and narration".

PRO version Are you a developer? The "dialectical" approach to shooting and editing mimes the stream of consciousness, etc. Emphasis on style. Narration conceived as an expressive representation of the story action. Eisenstein versus the notion of an invisible witness: the effect on the audience is the goal, and the camera the means; there is little concern for verisimilitude.

Staging is conceived as the first ideological processing—he speaks of mise-en-scene but also mise en jeu, mise en geste, mise en cadre. There are even self-reflexive or metafilmic moves. Eisenstein sets the bases for a future theory of film narration. Brecht brings out the diegetic element in drama. Barthes: narration rests on linguistic codes. Emphasis on process and play. Formalists spoke of the poetic use of film—they seek equivalents PRO version Are you a developer?

But they lack a fully developed linguistic theory of cinema or literature—which would have to wait for the structuralists. Both frame the object languages with a metalanguage which 1 thereby creates a hierarchy of discourses, 2 is "true" and 3 issues from no identifiable speaker.

In film, the camera roughly equals this metalanguage. Every language is a system of languages. Bordwell is against the notion of privileging the camera work over other film techniques. There is an interplay of narrational factors, not a single "metalanguage". Benveniste is not very consistent.

According to Kerbrat-Orecchioni, after Benveniste, the study of enunciation derives into the study of the marks of enunciation. He proceeds to track discursive signs. Metz confuses discours with enunciation itself. There is an absence of justification for applying linguistic categories in enunciation theories of film ; they make for a troublesome translation.

Camera work and editing, the two techniques privileged by the invisible observer model, become the principal bases of enunciation However, they are not integrated. Mimetic assumption "that shots create invisible observers and that editing creates ideal ones".

He is against the PRO version Are you a developer? The spectator is conceived as a "victim or dupe of narratorial illusion-making". A film uses the spectator to execute a definable variety of operations". Although the discussion of different styles and narrational modes inevitably moves somewhat in the direction of historical or cultural semiotics].

A Sketch for a Psychology of Film Perception and Cognition Constructivism conceived of "perceiving and thinking as active, goal-oriented processes", carried out through inference-making. There are top-down and bottom-up inferential processes whether the basis for the inference is some hypothesis, or sense data.

The artwork encourages certain schemata. Aesthetic perception is nonpractical— Attention is turned to the process itself; repertoires of PRO version Are you a developer? A constructivist account of cinema involves both our perceptual and cognitive capacities, and the structure of film, interacting with each other.

Narrative Comprehension "The viewer must take as a central cognitive goal the construction of a more or less intelligible story". Analogy of psycholinguistic accounts of language comprehension. Goal orientation is a basic scheme at least in Western culture. Motivation is used as a procedure by the audience. There are several types of motivation: realistic, transtextual, compositional, artistic.

These involve stylistic schemata, often processed unconsciously "owing to the stylistic uniformity of mainstream cinema". The process of viewing involves the construction of assumptions, inferences, hypotheses There is a hierarchy in PRO version Are you a developer? Perception takes into account the primacy effect.

There are effects of retardation, the creation of curiosity, the grounding of further hypotheses on those hypotheses which have been confirmed All of which applies to perception and understanding in general, but: "In art Emotion is linked to comprehension. For instance in [paralepses - although again this term is not used by Bordwell]. Narration as "a process which is not in its basic aims specific to any medium".

Fabula, Syuzhet, and Style Back to Aristotle again. Fabula understood as something constructed by the perceiver. It is embodied in verbal synopse. Note, p. No: it must be included under this heading. Here we will only deal with fabula and syuzhet. Tactics of Syuzhet construction "The syuzhet shapes our perception of the fabula by controlling 1 the quantity of fabula information to which we have access; 2 the degree of pertinence we can attribute to the presented information; and 3 the formal correspondence between syuzhet presentation and fabula data".

We can distinguish "rarefied" versus "overloaded" siuzhets, either as momentary technique or all over the film. Notion of the "hypostatized ideal syuzhet" which supplies information which is relevant to the coherent and steady construction of the fabula. Types of gaps.

Gaps may be: - temporary or permanent; - diffuse or focused i. Knowledge, Self-consciousness, and Communicativeness. Sternberg as inspiration again. Narration may be knowledgeable or less so; it varies in range, depth Self consciousness is "a recognition that it [the narration] is addressing an audience". Generic norms taking over film-specific [decorum] when [paralepses] occur, etc.

All these clarify the PRO version Are you a developer? Here, "point of view" will be used in a more restricted sense and will only refer to "The optical or auditory vantage point of a character".

Also, an analysis of "reliability" must be carried out —is it forthcoming? Another problem is posed by judgmental factors [i. A highly suppressive narrative looks down on its audience. Actually, Bordwell may be right: setting the stakes high through the implied audience is a way of making the actual audience feel their own shortcomings, or simply a way of infuriating or alienating them] Narrator, Author There are often literal narrators in film, in voice-over, narrating characters, etc.

We might speak of an implicit, nonpersonified narrator— "But in watching film, we are seldom aware of being told something by an entity resembling a human being". Also against the notion of an implied author in film: "To give every film a narrator or implied author is to indulge in an anthropomorphic fiction" [As to myself, I think audiences are aware that they are told a story—by a collective agent, we might call it "the film"—sometimes specific PRO version Are you a developer?

But the anthropomorphization denounced by Bordwell is a questionable term, since no other beings except humans indulge in the telling of stories, whether individually or collectively. Perhaps what Bordwell means to say is that the use of the terms "narrator" and "implied author" literaturizes film or film semiotics, by inadequately transferring to it a set of terms originally designed for discussion of communication protocols in another medium, i.

So there is narration indeed in the fiction film, Bordwell argues, but there is no "narrator" which of course may sound paradoxical!! This presupposes a perceiver, but not any sender of a message. This scheme allows for the possibility that the narrational process may sometimes mimic the communication situation more or less fully.

In the usual or more adequate sense of "communication", of course all narration, including film narration, is communicational in its intent and nature, whatever additional semiotic elements it may contain or involve].

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