Elusive Narrators in Film

George M. Wilson

in Seeing Fictions in Film

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594894
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731440 | DOI:
Elusive Narrators in Film

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In earlier chapters, it was argued that a movie fictionally “recounts” its story in audio-visual terms. On face of it, this implies that fictionally there is someone or something in the work that does the recounting. This conclusion is compatible with the viewer’s knowing nothing about the personality or character of the minimal recounting agency. If we ask whether movies have “narrators,” we could be asking whether such a minimal recounting agency is fictionally active in the film. Or we could be asking if the movie depicts a relatively robust character who fictionally carries out the work-internal narration. The answer to the first question is usually, “Yes,” and the answer to the second is almost always “No.” Most people have strong convictions that movies don’t have narrators, but it is explained why those intuitions are conflicted and unreliable.

Keywords: minimal narrating agency; modestly robust; strongly robust; filmic showing; imagined seeing; Edward Branigan; camera; implied film-maker; Christian Metz

Chapter.  7424 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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