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Old 09-04-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
How 'bout when a V.O. is not a character at all? Little Children has some of that, right? And what about what they call, "unreliable narrator"? Anyone able to explain that concisely?

Unreliable narrator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Right, when a narrator's credibility has been compromised... Salieri in Amadeus is a good example..
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by toosie View Post
No
Yes
They're ultra brief but insistent. There isn't much dialogue at all in this film and these whispers account for over half the spoken word.
The words don't give away much of anything. The intention/meaning is evident after the first utterance. All it reveals, IMO, is that Malick loves that particular device and underestimates his audience's ability to get his message.

There are times when it makes you like they are talking down to you, I agree.

Could be, only if necessary, only when necessary, and never a word more than is necessary..
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
And what about what they call, "unreliable narrator"?
Ooo this could be it's own thread. Two that come to mind immediately are Fight Club and The Usual Suspects. Love that in lit and movies.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by toosie View Post
Ooo this could be it's own thread. Two that come to mind immediately are Fight Club and The Usual Suspects. Love that in lit and movies.

It's really an interesting device.. there's a built in suspense and intrigue, 'cause we know that the information we're getting is suspect, not to be entirely trusted...
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
It's really an interesting device.. there's a built in suspense and intrigue, 'cause we know that the information we're getting is suspect, not to be entirely trusted...
Right - and it can be even better when we get multiple points of view of the same situation from different narrators. Faulkner often gives you an unreliable narrator and extra POVs (sometimes also unreliable.) Multiple unreliable narrators over generations - ahhh
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by toosie View Post
Right - and it can be even better when we get multiple points of view of the same situation from different narrators. Faulkner often gives you an unreliable narrator and extra POVs (sometimes also unreliable.) Multiple unreliable narrators over generations - ahhh
Yeah, definitely... like walking a hallway of distorted mirrors.. I'm trying to think of multiple narrators in film.. Goodfellas, we have Liotta and Pesci, right? Which, by the way, talk about getting to the heart of a story immediately... "As long as I can remember I've wanted to be a gangster..."

'Course, it could have been something like, "Where and when I grew up, in that time and place, there was nothin' worse than being a rat... and that's just what I had become..."

Can you think of any other multiple, maybe even conflicting narrators in film?
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
Yeah, definitely... like walking a hallway of distorted mirrors.. I'm trying to think of multiple narrators in film.. Goodfellas, we have Liotta and Pesci, right? Which, by the way, talk about getting to the heart of a story immediately... "As long as I can remember I've wanted to be a gangster..."
Oh Goodfellas - Ray Liotta driving, sweating bullets, with that helicopter overhead. Priceless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
Can you think of any other multiple, maybe even conflicting narrators in film?
The most obvious one I can think of is Kurosawa's Rashomon. I keep feeling like Red had some help narrating Shawshank Redemption but think maybe I'm remembering wrong.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by toosie View Post
Oh Goodfellas - Ray Liotta driving, sweating bullets, with that helicopter overhead. Priceless.
The most obvious one I can think of is Kurosawa's Rashomon. I keep feeling like Red had some help narrating Shawshank Redemption but think maybe I'm remembering wrong.
You know, I may have remembered the narration in Goodfellas wrong.. I think I was thinking of Casino, that has the Pesci and DeNiro narrators almost arguing with each other.. that I thought was effective. In film as in literature you should show and not tell; but truth is, you can't show everything...

I think the most effective film narration for me was when the information was strictly supplementary, and when they gave me not one more word than was necessary.. definitely a "less is more" thing, right?
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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I have had the thought that narration in film was a crutch; but now that I think of it, I think I only felt that way when the narration was conspicuous, and when I really think of it, I realize that some of my favorite movies have narration. I just never noticed because it was so kind of organic in the film.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
How 'bout when a V.O. is not a character at all? Little Children has some of that, right? And what about what they call, "unreliable narrator"? Anyone able to explain that concisely?
The narrator in Little Children is usually referred to as "heterodiegetic" narration in literature: "hetero" meaning "other" and "diegetic" referring to the diegesis or "fictional world created by the narration." When the narrator is also a charactor (Nick Caraway in The Great Gatsby, for example), the narration is referred to as homodiegetic.

In film, the situation can be a little more complex: you can have a heterodiegetic narrator (or, simply, an "external" narrator, a.k.a a voice-over) but there is also the meganarration of the direction, i.e. the scenes that the director chooses to allow us to see as well as how those scenes are portrayed, which is also narration, albeit implicit.

There is another film that I will mention, Amelie, in which I think the voice-over is extremely well done and often leads from explicit (i.e., v.o.) narration to implicit narration (our viewing of the peoples' lives introduced by the v.o.).

Unreliable narration can take many forms but the best example in film, I think, is Verbal Kent in The Usual Suspects, another great example of v.o. and narration that transitions seemlessly between explicit to implicit. In lit, I think that Don Quijote would be a good example of unreliable narration.

Last edited by StarlaJane; 09-04-2011 at 01:30 PM..
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