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Screening ModernismEuropean Art Cinema, 1950–1980$
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András Bálint Kovács

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451633

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226451664.001.0001

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Narration in Modern Cinema

Narration in Modern Cinema

(p.56) :4: Narration in Modern Cinema
Screening Modernism

András Bálint Kovács

University of Chicago Press

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

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