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Andrejevic, Mark wrote:
> 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.

For the first category, I'd like to propose some "drug movie" examples -
where the characters are so "strung out" that most viewers have
difficulty following them. "Naked Lunch" (based on a William Burroughs
novel) might fit here; probably also "Jesus' Son" and "Fear and
Loathing in Las Vegas".

Both of the Cheech and Chong movies I've seen would be examples
of the latter category, since they consist of little but a series of
sketches. The same goes for less drug-oriented films such as "Kentucky
Fried Movie" and Amazon Women On The Moon".

Another example: Robert Altman's MASH. According to interviews, the
actors tried to get the director fired because he had them improvise almost
all the time, with no indication that anything like a plot was being
planned.
The narrative device (a PA system) that more or less holds the film
together was apparently decided on while cutting the film.


Dave Skreiner
DVD-Home Magazine




----- Original Message -----
From: Andrejevic, Mark <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 8:33 PM
Subject: Re: Understanding the plot


> 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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>
> ----
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