Narration in Modern Cinema

András Bálint Kovács

in Screening Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226451633
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451664 | DOI:
Narration in Modern Cinema

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By far the most spectacular formal characteristic of modern cinema is the way it handles narration and how that relates to storytelling. Modern art cinema's problem regarding narration was summarized by Gilles Deleuze. All problems of storytelling stem from the disconnection of human actions from traditional routines or patterns of human relationships. This is what Deleuze refers to as the fundamental “disbelief” in the world, what is commonly referred to as “modern alienation.” Much of the work of mapping modern art cinema's narrative techniques has been done by David Bordwell in his seminal work Narration in the Fiction Film. This chapter explores the problems of the narration of the “modernist art film” in comparison with the “classical art film.” It also discusses the abstract individual and looks at Carl Gustav Jung's description of the “modern soul.” The chapter furthermore looks at Nöel Burch's analysis of the modern film, focusing on his views about the use of chance “in the creation of works with multiple modes of performance.”

Keywords: narration; modern cinema; storytelling; Gilles Deleuze; disbelief; modern alienation; David Bordwell; classical art film; modernist art film; abstract individual

Chapter.  11516 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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