A discussion on reflexivity in film

I had not seen the film since high school and had forgotten just how amazing it is. While I was watching again, I found myself actually unable to take my eyes off the screen, I was like Alex DeLarge himself while he viddied ultra violence onscreen; rather than having tools to keep my eyes open, the film itself acted as the tool to keep my eyes on it, awestruck. The striking aspect of this sort of self-reflexivity is the discomfort we feel as spectators since we are being led by and related to Alex, we are both spectators of ultra violence.

A discussion on reflexivity in film

Here no one speaks. The events seem to tell themselves. One might say that the purity of narrative is more obvious than that of discourse.

Reflexivity first entered into anthropological discourse in the late s in response to several problematics that had emerged in the previous decade, but its use in the humanities and in sociology has a longer history. (or film production) within films, having literary characters address their readers, and so on. summary discussion. Feb 24,  · A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite films and books. I had not seen the film since high school and had forgotten just how amazing it is. I had not seen the film since high school and had forgotten just how amazing it is. Whether it be making the audience aware of the moviemaking process through film language, or purely making a film about filmmaking, self-reflexive cinema motivates intellectual interaction with the film.

Discourse has no purity to preserve since it is the natural mode of language, the broadest and most universal mode, by definition open to all forms. On the contrary, narrative is a particu- lar mode, marked and defined by a certain number of exclusions and restrictive conditions no present tense, no first person, etc.

The self-reflexive attributes of discourse are closely relat- ed to the function of cinematic enunciation, also studied by Benveniste.

This theoretical background of self-reflexivity determined the way self-reflexivi- ty, was until today conceived in film theory and also in the cognitive strands of film narratol- ogy.

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His discussion of description reflects a tension in both the literary and the film theoretical tradition between narrative and description. The traditional view of narrative considers it to be distinct from description, because description does not conform to the overall causal and tempo- ral succession of the story; it rather suspends time and action.

This tension between description and narrative comes from the period of Enlightenment and its system of ideas and was systemat- ically treated by Lessing in his distinction between temporal and spatial arts, particularly poetry and painting. As Joseph Frank notes, Lessing used to advise poets to give emphasis on action and not on description, because action fits the linear temporality of language.

As Genette recognizes, description per se has different attributes from narrative. For instance, description has been a central characteristic of baroque art and poetry, as Genette notes.

In general, for Genette, description comes to serve the needs of the dramatic unfolding of the diegesis, and thus it is, in a sense, sub- ordinate to narrative.

Based on the work of Genette but also on that of the French theorist Philippe Hamon, Seymour Chatman attempted, from the aspect of film narratology, to clarify the instances of description in cinema.

Certainly such chal- lenging has been the case in many avant-garde and art films of the past, but it still formed part of an alternative and rather marginal way of storytelling, in relation to the dominant Hollywood practices.

What is stressed here is that now it seems that new forces tend to turn complex modes of narration into a new norm, as film narratives in which discourse and description proliferate are massively being promoted.

Self-reflexivity, also found in postclassical modes of Hollywood narration after the s,29 has a very intense presence in complex films.

Self Reflecting Films - Movies List on MUBI

The self-reflexivity at the level of cinematography and montage is accompanied by self-reflexivity at the level of narration: Bordwell considers marks of the self-conscious stance of these film devices such as crosscutting, intertitles, montage according to a motif, time-juggling, and openly suppressive narration.

The same holds for our enjoyment of the films as viewers.

Pleasure and connection to the story world comes through an awareness of the medium and its manipulation. While the discursive cyst seems to be threatening the purity of narrative with its overwhelming presence in complex films, the other cyst traditionally subordinate to narrative, description, also seems to be growing, decisively shifting its hierarchical position in relation to narrative.

All the more, as it becomes clear in contemporary complex films, narrative gets to serve description, instead of the other way around. The order in which the elements appear can thus be conceived as contingent and the relation between them as paradigmatic rather than syntagmatic.

The narrative elements, i. The excerpts from the stories of different characters become pieces that are juxtaposed in the space of the film, often considered to be contemporaneous and with no temporal successiveness among them.

Hence, the multiple mini-narratives or threads of the films may be themselves seen as objects of description, opening out to a larger — but equally contingent and poorly ordered in a causal- logical way — real world. Complex reality and complex diction Taking into consideration the proliferation of self-reflexivity and description in recent complex films, it seems that in them it is the narrative, as defined by its temporal and dramatic attributes, that tends to become the cyst, and a micro-element of a larger composition.

However, can we dis- miss the word narrative altogether when talking about films that ultimately still create story worlds?

The problem seems to lie in the definition of the word narrative itself, and its connota- tions of a certain objective and verisimilar representation, which would imitate the causal-logical and spatio-temporal sequence of events in an idealized version of the real world.

A solution to the inner contradiction created between self-reflexive discourse and description on the one hand, and narrative on the other, is suggested by Genette through his own self-refer- ential reflections at a later phase of his work. Fiction and Diction is a collection of essays dealing with special narratological problems such as how do we define literariness, for instance whether we do so according to the theme and inten- tion of a work fiction or according to aesthetic criteria diction.

In the essay Fictional Narrative, Factual Narrative Genette observes that in a large part of his earlier work he tended to associate narrative with fiction, and to neglect factual narrative. Thus, he attempts to test whether his analytical categories of order, pace, frequency, mode, and voice, which he developed based on fictional narrative, can also be applied to cases of factual narrative, such as historical narratives and autobiographies.

The conclusion that he draws is that the differences between the two types of narrative, albeit existent, are not as rigid as one would imagine, as both fictional and factual narratives make use of the same stylistic elements. As for contemporary complex fic- tion films, they heavily rely on factual diction with the proliferation of self-reflexive and descrip- tive modes.

At the same time, however, this does not make them appear more factual. The Jacket [John Maybury, ], Source Code, Take Shelter [Jeff Nichols, ]perhaps because of the fact that our perception of reality feels more unreal than ever.

The viewer of this and other complex films is required to do exactly the same.

A discussion on reflexivity in film

In our hypermediated environment, the ways we use to connect to the real are through reflexivity, and openness to con- tingent connectivity among seemingly unconnected objects what description effectuates as a mode of textual diction. This results into fiction being less verisimilar to its own norms as a genre a tendency Genette observes in Fiction and Diction ,44 but closer to our conception of a hyper- mediated real.20 Ethnographic and Documentary Films Psychological Anthropologists Should Be Teaching.

as instructors can use the film to spur class discussion about the rhetorical effects of voiceover and narration in relation to the underlying The film is grounded in a self-conscious attempt at reflexivity and a critical deconstruction of the method. Reflexivity in Documentary Film.

Reflexivity Reflexive and reflexivity are pivotal terms in contemporary documentary theory because they condense salient aspects of debates about documentary truth claims.

Consequently there are various definitions and uses of these terms. in the most influential recent discussion of this topic, offers a. For a discussion of the films and of reflexivity and the documentary film, see Ruby 4.

1 am using the word communication in this paper to mean, 'A social process, within a context, in which signs are produced and transmitted, perceived, and treated as messages from which meaning can be inferred' (Worth and Gross ). Feb 24,  · A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite films and books.

I had not seen the film since high school and had forgotten just how amazing it is. I had not seen the film since high school and had forgotten just how amazing it is.

Reflexivity first entered into anthropological discourse in the late s in response to several problematics that had emerged in the previous decade, but its use in the humanities and in sociology has a longer history. (or film production) within films, having literary characters address their readers, and so on.

summary discussion. Feb 24,  · Thinking about this film now with the discussion of self-reflexivity from last week’s class in mind, I have begun to think of A Clockwork Orange as somewhat self-reflexive in its depiction of ultra violence in the film that we are seeing Alex engage in, and in its depiction of Alex viewing ultra violence onscreen as we have been doing for the.

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