Not examples, but some thoughts:
I'd be tempted to make a distinction between those films which are
incomprehensible intentionally, and those that are incomprehensible in part
as a result of a production process that doesn't focuse on coherence, but
rather on a series of gimmicks strung together. In the former category one
would certainly put surrealist film (chien andalou, other bunuel...Momento,
Mulholland Drive)...IN the latter, I'd put movies like Mission Impossible,
Swordfish, and other such gimmick movies that aren't deliberately
incomprehensible, but have subordinated things like comprehensible plots to
other imperatives: getting the next set of stunt/effect scenes laid out.
with a bit of effort, movies in the latter category can be sorted out: we
can figure out what the scriptwriters were thinking the plot was supposed to
be; the former movies are deliberately indeterminate.

-----Original Message-----
From: jane mills [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 2:22 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Understanding the plot

Understanding the plot.

Apologies for cross-listing

Un chien Andalou, The Big Sleep, Seven, The Usual Suspects, The Matrix,
Velvet Goldmine, Gummo, Mulholland Drive  all films that have incoherent
or, to some, incomprehensible plots and storylines. (For some reason I am
always completely baffled by films about counter espionage.) Does it matter?
Do we need to understand the plot of a movie to enjoy it? Could you let me
know more titles of incomprehensible films, any academic articles on the
subject , and your views on the subject?

Jane Mills
Honorary Associate, The University of Sydney;
Senior Research Associate, Australian Film,Television & Radio School
27 Dudley Street, Bondi, 2026
Tel: 9300 8836
[log in to unmask]

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