What goes through a writer’s head when creating the role of the the protagonist? Let’s call her the Prima Ballerina, this protagonist. She will dance across the sheets of paper, or your screen, and/or your mind throughout the narrative jig, pirouetting after every twist in the story. When she searches for answers, it is the writer that reminds her that she is vital. Like “Don Quixote [who] did not exist until Cervantes invented him,” (Margolin, 67) neither did our Prima Ballerina. I would like to transfer the debate between JJ and Aaron about the sincerity of plot and storyworld. Thereby raising the question as to what makes them believable and therefore sincere?

If these characters were to exist even before their story was penned would indicate that writers are somewhat prophets, which the aren’t. Hence we know that “characters are abstract in the sense that they do not exist in real space and time, and are more like concepts in this regard.” And if you were to argue that children may not naturally perceive this, there will be a natural point in development when a fantastical schism will occur and reality becomes lucid. Even if a child were able to immerse themselves within this story-world interacting with these characters, they are able to do so more fully because of their lack of life experience. They do not judge the characters they encounter like you and I; like sponges they absorb from these characters because they have little comparative material i.e life lessons. This i think also translates to the area of film.

As we move from simple narratives created for children stories must become increasingly intricate to match the reality the reader lives in. Be it fantasy-lands, science fiction, or drama, writers use ‘the fact domain (= set of facts that make it up)… or any of its sub-domains: the beliefs, wishes, intentions, and imaginations’ that parallel in some way the receptors world to create characters that readers can relate to and believe in. This of course is bracketed by the story-world. The sincerity of a character is completely then a construction of the receptor because the beliefs, wishes, intentions and most importantly imaginations of the receptor is at the forefront of judging how believable a character is.

While talking about Simple Men, JJ said that ‘the movie’s genius lies in it’s self awareness.” And thus it’s characters sincerity to the story-world and once again, JJ could not have put it any better, “they [the characters] take themselves completely seriously.” Although the desired affect plays an important role in the conception of a character’s sincerity what makes him/her believable is their commitment to the world they exist in. I mean imagine you chance upon a ballerina-drag queen prancing tippy-toed down a street, her chin slightly at an acute angle to the ground, all the while her arms in fifth position; then imagine her in new york doing it as if it were her job. You would think she was doing it for a reason other than just to get from point A to point B. You’d wonder… what’s that ballerina-drag queen’s story?

xoxo waylon


The element of time in cinema is mercurial, forever changing to keep the audience within the narrative’s grasp. At the turn of this century Christopher Nolan (accompanied by his brother Jonathan) released Memento (2002), a story about a seemingly normal man who suffers from memory loss searching for his late wife’s murderer. The catch? the movie moves back in time instead of forward cleverly using a b/w backstory setting as transitions between each scene. This treatment of time, by the conclusion of the movie, generates a time loop. One realises that for Leonard Shelby (Guy Pierce) time is no object because his brain processes the here and now differently due to inability to ‘make new memories’. Not only is he stuck in this time loop but so is the audience. As a result this cyclical time zone that Leonard lives in can begin and end whenever and wherever because in the end we are going to return to square one.

In Irréversible (2002) directed by Gaspar Noé time is treated similarly in that it moves backwards. Noé makes use of a constantly moving camera and intricate long takes to follow Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and his current girl-friend’s ex- lover (Albert Dupontel) to find her rapist. (The girlfriend is played by Monica Bellucci) The brutal murder is the beginning in a terrifyingly fetishistic gay club, The Rectum, sets a jarring tone with respect to the end/beginning’s serene quality. Not to mention the infrasound track laid on the first 20 or so minutes of the film which creates a hieghtened sense of disgust in the receiver to the extent that half the audience walked out of the it’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival!

While Memento and Irréversible treat time similarly they apply other narrative elements in very different ways. Momento creates a narrative where the viewer is given pieces of a puzzle and must assemble the story themselves. Irrevérsible on the other like an older brother punches you in the face with brutal violence and then administers first aid by allowing you the entire movie to come to terms with it.Just goes to show that everything has been done… you just gotts to find a new way of treating it.

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