Parametric narration transcends movements – time periods – filmmakers.
Professor Mittell raised the question of whether or not its useful as a way to read art films.
Do we use these to map the text of the film, or do we take these films and try to fit them into the parameters of these theories?
One of the main facets that Bordwell characterizes as parametric is the use of style as an influential factor in the construction of a film. The way a viewer perceives meaning and order in parametric films are all tied into the style of the piece. Therefore, the construction of the syuzhet is inextricably linked with the way it is constructed, ie style. So here, meaning, order and style combine to create parametric film. This makes way for aspects of such films to have elements that may not play an important role in plot or character development – but may contain elements that are there in order to elaborate on the established style.

As we discussed in class, part of the model of art cinema invites interpretation.
Whether or not Barton Fink is an art film may hinge on the intent. Perhaps there is no deep meaning behind the movie – perhaps it is highlighting, as Professor Mittell points out, that Barton Fink is a hack, and this is the type of movie he might right – full of big ideas and stylization, but with no real narrative arc – with nothing hollywood would consider sellable or worthy. In this way, it fits a parametric model. The style of the film is a key element in how we perceive and interpret the narrative structure.
Implicit in parametric films, and in the terminology as well, is the use of parameters, of limits and control as to how the film is presented and perceived. The formal elements of the film are highlighted because the structure isn’t bound by a plot driven schema. In fact, the style may intentionally complicate the construction of the fabula. The point of parametric films is the telling of the story, the way it is presented and scrambled and hidden and elevated rather than what the story is about. It takes a specific kind of viewer to appreciate a film for the sake of it, with no grand plot payoff or heroic journey narrative with a satisfying ending. Parametric films, evident in much of art cinema and independent cinema as well, is useful to categorize what is intentionally uncategorizable – to try to understand the reasons and the value of what we don’t understand.


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