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Just a last comment of interest I didn’t have room for in my final paper. I argue that trailers use repetition not just to hammer advertising into our heads, but to signal genre placement for the upcoming film. In the case of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, it’s amazing how redundant the […]

A Narrative Theory of Life

A couple of the authors we’ve read this term have talked about how we process life using (without consciously understanding, in most cases) narrative theory. Inspired by Bordwell’s baring of the narrative device, I thought it would be fitting to apply as many theories as I could think of to life in general for my […]

Is Second Life a Narrative Game?

A while back, I spent some time on Second Life while researching various virtual worlds (most of my arguments can also be applied to Habbo, a much more limited virtual world designed for tweens and teens). Second Life is self described as a “vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.” Residents “retain […]

New Ways of Viewing, Revisited

In my previous post, I examined the role that aberrant viewing plays in constructing narratives. My experience of Bones in reverse was interesting in terms of charting cause and effect, but the way I constructed the fabula from the series syuzhet (adopting the terms to the story arc of the season/series instead of episode text) was […]

New Ways of Viewing

Yesterday I watched a significant number of Bones episodes in reverse chronology because that was how they were listed on Hulu. Silly? Yes. Lazy? Absolutely. But an interesting experience nonetheless.  Angela Ndalianis would probably classify Bones under her fourth prototype: The fourth schemata relies on the technique of ‘variation on a theme’ and on the personality of […]

The Narrational Modes of Annie Hall

In class today, we discussed Annie Hall in relation to the modes of art cinema, classical Hollywood and a touch of parametric narration. At the time I had a half-baked sort of though about historical-materialism, but couldn’t formulate it enough to possibly warrant mentioning it in class. But now that I’ve had a chance to marinate, […]

Final Paper Proposal

As I stated in my paper topic post, the trailer’s main function is to entice the viewer to view the upcoming film. The generalized beginning of “In a world where …” applies to all trailers, but most especially to the science fiction/fantasy genres. Not only do these trailers have to provide a narrative hook for the viewer, […]

Classical Hollywood versus Art Cinema Modes

A la the closing comment of Professor Mittell yesterday, I left class thinking about the distinction between Hollywood and Art Cinema as modes of narration, and how they applied to our screenings thus far. Reflecting on the year to date in light of these distinctions, I find our first screenings to be the most interesting […]

A New Narrative for Pushing Daisies

When the editing assignment came up, I immediately wanted to play with my favorite (currently airing) show, Pushing Daisies. As for a partner, I mentioned my plan to Scotty, who happened to share my passion for an undead girl and her pie-making love. As for the process … Problems accumulated quite quickly. As many of […]

Adaptation Act 3 Sarcastic?

I’m not convinced. On the level of comprehension, act three is exactly what Donald and McKee stand for. While a swamp ape would have been the deuxs ex machina abhorred by the character and real McKee, the alligator is not so bad. They are in a swamp, and the alligators have been seen there before. I see […]

Many-Leveled Narratives in all their gloriousness

Like many in our class, my first academic exposure to Adaptation was in Don’s screenwriting class. We examined the unconventional structure, and how it still broke into McKee’s blessed three acts complete with arcs and climaxes. Each act, sequence and scene had its turn, and we went through the process of figuring out exactly how it was […]

Wherefore Art Thou, oh Narrator?

Chatman argues persuasively (at least, once it got translated into human-speak in class–hats off to Professor Mittell for that one) that the viewer constructs a cinematic narrator and implied author while watching a film text. At the time, it made sense. Anyone “reading” a film will create a prime mover behind every choice in the […]

Science, The Prestige and Intertextual References

As part-time physicist (who would have thunk it … a second post combining my disciplines) I feel I must set the record straight. I know nobody wants to hear it, but poor Tesla was not a wizard. He was just a physicist who basically invented radio, failed the electricity race and had a unit of magnetic […]

Hydrating with Martinis

Aaron persuasively argues in his blog that Barton Fink uses the impersonal subjective, as explained by George Wilson in “Transparency and Twist in the Narrative Fiction Film,” primarily in the hotel scenes to visually show us Barton’s subjective view of the world. The film’s taglines, “There’s only one thing stranger than what’s going on inside his […]

Barton Fink and Weimar Cinema

First things first. I must comment on the oh-so Jewish hair exemplified in tonight’s screening. And now that that’s out of my system … Taking a survey of film history course has afforded me a sort of Langlois approach to cinema in comparing my screenings. While my 102 film exposure has been largely (if not […]

Another Final Paper Topic

This one really isn’t really for me, because I’m pretty excited (or, as excited as one can be about writing 15 pages …) about my first idea. But I was watching some television, as one does on break, and realized that beyond the narrative of a television episode itself, credit sequences are endowed with a […]

Seriality in Narrative

We’ve talked a lot about how the viewer is considered active in Bordwell’s model. They use schemata to evaluate the information provided by syuzhet and style to construct fabula. The viewer makes assumption, inferences and hyptheses, which are then proved or disproved when the narrative provides more depth, range and communicativeness. And now that I’ve […]

Constructing Narrative in Political Campaigns

Right now, like many, I have politics on the brain. A lot. And what better way to vent my obsession than to examine the deliberate construction of personas (characters) for our favorite political figures of the day in my blog? I’m going to try to leave my beliefs out of it as much as possible […]

Final Paper Topic Thoughts

Once upon a time … I say this only because there is a bit of a story behind my current paper topic thought. The day before I was due to come back to Middlebury, I went out and finally made the switch. I got a mac. Bad timing … I got to spend the whole […]

The “Twist” Genre and the Crying Game

Bordwell’s definitions of fabula and syuzhet help illuminate exactly how the “twist” genre, as explored by Erlend Lavik, operates. Typically in these films (and if memory serves, The Sixth Sense is no exception), the syuzhet is deliberately constructed so as to encourage the viewer to ask the wrong questions and thus arrive at the wrong fabula. Then, […]

Why do We Believe Alvy Singer?

As discussed in class today, Annie Hall is very much a subjective narrative mostly from Alvy Singer’s point of view. Putting aside to what extent this point of view reflects or does not reflect that of Woody Allen, the filmmaker, why do we as viewers put so much faith in the visuals of the film? […]

Is Margolin’s View of Character Applicable to Film?

Uri Margolin writes in her essay “Character” in The Cambridge Companion to Narrative that character can be most succinctly defined as “storyworld participant” (66). Seems simple enough. But it gets complicated for literature, the medium she’s writing about, when one considers what, exactly, constitutes a participant. Objects and places can be awarded a personality and significance, […]

On the Viewer’s Role in Constructing Story

In class today we seemed to come to a consensus concerning how the viewer actively interacts with the plot and narration to construct story. Professor Mittell stated it the most simply: the viewer will assume the simplest answer and only ask the questions posed by the narration. This is how we can be fooled by […]

Cinematic Narrators and Galilean Relativity

Physics and film. Together, in one post. I’ll be the first to admit that I never saw my two academic pursuits coinciding. Ever. But here I am, about to draw tenuous connections between the two that will probably make all my professors cringe. Robert Stam explains in the second half of our reading from New Vocabularies […]

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