Download e-book for iPad: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema by Tom Brown

By Tom Brown

ISBN-10: 0748644253

ISBN-13: 9780748644254

What occurs while fictional characters recognize our 'presence' as movie spectators? by means of advantage of its eccentricity and impressive frequency as a filmic gadget, direct handle permits us to invite a few basic questions of movie concept, background and feedback and take on, head-on, assumptions in regards to the cinema as a medium. Brown offers a wide realizing of the function of direct tackle inside of fiction cinema, with concentrated research of its position in sure strands of avant-garde or experimental cinema, at the one hand, and renowned style traditions (musicals and comedies) at the other.

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Additional info for Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema

Sample text

Another reason it is perhaps found more fitting for films to use direct address in their final shots than at other points was suggested to me by Gilberto Perez, who commented that, if a look at the camera takes you out of the fiction, it is appropriate that it comes at a film’s end. He also pointed out that, for similar reasons, camera looks might come at the start of a film (1994’s Through the Olive Trees was his example). indd 20 23/03/2012 12:30 i n t r o du c t i o n 21 David Bordwell’s observation (though admittedly of a different kind of film practice) that ‘a high degree of narrational presence is conventional in the opening of the classical film .

Her comportment has the appearance of a person who a director has pointed a camera at with no instructions as to what to do. She appears a little self-conscious but not too abashed by the camera’s attention; these sequences feel something like a screen test. The voiceover begins again: ‘She: It’s Marina Vlady. She’s an actress. She is wearing a midnight blue sweater with two yellow stripes. She is of Russian origin. ’ It turns out that the actress is in place, prepared to assume a role, because she begins to speak, in slightly halting language, as if feeling the effort of remembering lines.

And of course at the end’ (Bordwell et al. 1985: 166). Though Bordwell’s formalism identifies the same thing as Perez’s more ‘interpretative’ approach (and, more generally, Bordwell’s account of the basic mechanics of classical narration is indispensable), their approaches and views of cinematic narration are very different and I find Bordwell’s approach less useful for my aim to analyse direct address as a facet of film’s wider rhetorical arsenal (see Brown 2011 for a discussion of related issues).

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Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema by Tom Brown


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