The Destabilization of the Fabula

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:
The Destabilization of the Fabula

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There is a wide consensus among filmmakers and theorists that one of the most important phenomena in the postwar period is the spread of stories fusing human acts, represented in narratives, with the representation of mental processes, or of stories of human acts that develop into tales about pure mental processes. Although the principles of modern film narration did not replace classical principles, modernist principles became a sort of parallel norm considerably influencing the development of audiovisual culture even after the decline of modernism as a mainstream artistic practice. Subjectivity in modern narrative means that conventional narrative patterns, which created solid interpretative schemes, dissolve before such narrative maneuvers. The main tendency appearing in the late 1940s is to create narratives that question the absolute value of the fabula. This chapter discusses the formal traits that emphasize subjectivity in narration during the period. It describes the spread of the voice-over narration, film noir and modernism, Alfred Hitchcock's films, and the alternative subjective narration in Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950).

Keywords: fabula; narration; voice-over narration; Akira Kurosawa; Rashomon; Alfred Hitchcock; films; subjectivity; film noir; modernism

Chapter.  3943 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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