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October 1998, Week 2


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 7 Oct 1998 08:50:37 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (53 lines)
Damian proposes:
> I think that we should discuss and clarify what we mean by
> the term 'realism'.
> Just for once.
> Gloves off, no holds barred.
> Get it all out in the open, because many seem to be
> crossing boundaries, and confusing 'realism' with
> 'verisimilitude', 'neo-realism', 'cinema verite' etc.
> (I find it very confusing when this happens, and I'm sure
> the confusion is not intended.)
> Which films employ 'realism' or are 'realist'?
> Can we question the validity of each desciption?
> Etc., etc.
> That way, every time a film comes along which brings up the
> subject, we all have a common frame of reference.
Since there was no emoticon attached, I wonder if this suggestion is
tongue-in-cheek?  Surely there are few more loaded terms than
"realism." Just to start with, there are:
visual realism (i.e., iconic similarity to an object or scene in nature;
        with varying degrees of resemblence up to and including the full
        range of color, dimension, movement, etc.)
psychological realism (i.e., actions that correspond to the ways
        individuals would "normally" act under similar circumstances)
sociological realism (i.e., the circumstances of the individuals reflect
        actualities of race, class, gender, etc.)
historical realism (i.e., the film and/or scenes approximate an accurate
        reconstruction of the dress, customs, mores, etc. of a
        particular time or event, etc.)
perceptual realism (i.e., the image accurately reproduces what the naked
        eye would see or have seen)
and so on.  I need hardly add that most of these terms are also
ideologically loaded as well!
Perhaps this is Damian's point, since much of the previous discussion
of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN has talked about some or all of these different
types of "realism," often within a single post!
Don Larsson
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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