Seeing Fictions in Film: The Epistemology of Movies
In works of literary fiction, it is a part of the fiction that the words of the text are being recounted by some work-internal 'voice': the literary narrator. One can ask similarly whether the story in movies is told in sights and sounds by a work-internal subjectivity that orchestrates them: a cinematic narrator. George M. Wilson argues that movies do involve a fictional recounting (an audio-visual narration) in terms of the movie's sound and image track. Viewers are usually prompted to imagine seeing the items and events in the movie's fictional world and to imagine hearing the associated fictional sounds. However, it is much less clear that the cinematic narration must be imagined as the product of some kind of 'narrator' - of a work-internal agent of the narration. Wilson goes on to examine the further question whether viewers imagine seeing the fictional world face-to-face or whether they imagine seeing it through some kind of work-internal mediation. It is a key contention of this book that only the second of these alternatives allows one to give a coherent account of what we do and do not imagine about what we are seeing on the screen. Having provided a partial account of the foundations of film narration, the final chapters explore the ways in which certain complex strategies of cinematic narration are executed in three exemplary films: David Fincher's Fight Club, von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress, and the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There.
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argue asserts audience audio-visual narration Blonde Venus camera Catherine chapter character’s Chatman cinematic narration Coen brothers concept Currie depicted diegetic Dietrich discussion Don Pasqual Doris dramatic Ed Crane Ed’s epistemic example fact fiction films fictional action fictional characters fictional items fictional narration fictional recounting Fictional Showing Hypothesis fictional space fictional world Fight Club film narration film-makers Gaut image-track images Imagined Seeing Thesis implicit impression indeterminate instance Kania Kendall Walton kind literary fiction Mediated Version minimal narrating motion picture shots movie viewers movie’s fictional murder MWWT narrating agency narrative action narratology nature normally objects and events perceptual perspectival Philip Marlowe photographic play POV shots present propositions question readers relevant Scarlet Empress scene screen seems segment sense shot or sequence simply situation spectators Sternberg strategy subjectively inflected supposed transparently derived twist movies vantage point viewers imagine visual experience visual perspective Walton watching werewolf werewolf of London winged monkeys