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June 1997, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 10:41:12 -0400
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Molly Olsen
06/24/97 10:41 AM
Mike Frank wrote:
>if, as recent coments on PILLOW BOOK and APOCALYPSE NOW /H.O.D. seem to
hint, we're >embarking on a thread dealing explicitly wtih the problematic
>adaptation, let me foreground one of the critical [in both senses]
>issues involved in thinking about the translation of words to moving
>images . . . and let me do so by offering, for the sake of argument, a
>no doubt controversial claim
>i'm tempted to say that, at least within the parameters of the moving
image as we now imagine >it,ther simply cannot be any first person texts .
. . that is, no film can be narrated/enunciated by >one of its diegetic
characters [although a film may certainly have an "implied narrator," which
is >a very diffrent kind of animal entirely] . . .
That is a controversial claim -- what about a film like GOODFELLAS or
SLEEPERS or any documentary film where the filmmaker is also the narrator
(i.e. SHERMAN'S MARCH) -- are these not "first person texts"?
I suppose you could argue that, for instance, because the camera is pointed
at Henry Hill several times in GOODFELLAS, we are not seeing the action
through his eyes and ears -- but we *are* seeing Hill's interpretation of
the action, skewed as it may be, and recorded after the fact, so that he
does become a diegetic character in the story he's telling.  The same can
be said of most first-person texts in literature and film.
Molly Olsen
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