31 December 2011
13 December 2011
Here is one such example: they distinguished between a narrative’s fabula (story) and syuzhet (presentation). The two need not line up exactly. If someone asks you what the movie Fight Club (1999) “is about,” you might say, “Well, it’s about a guy (Edward Norton) who invents an alternate persona, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), in order to give himself the courage to break out of his mundane white collar existence.” But of course that’s not at all how Fight Club presents itself to the audience. The narrative’s presentation begins at its climax, which is interrupted, and only then proceeds to the the story’s chronological beginning. From that point on, the film contains a mix of chronologically-ordered scenes and bits of narrative exposition (Northon’s voiceover) that allow us, ultimately, to return to and understand the climax, which is then resolved in the final minutes of the movie. Furthermore, the narration conceals from us for most of the film’s running time the fact that Tyler Durden is the psychological creation of the nameless narrator/protagonist.
Formalism helps us explain this kind of narrative phenomenon. By separating story from presentation, we can begin to speak of them independently from one another, as well as to understand how they relate. From this follows many other concepts: for instance, we can see how exposition is back story that gets related (narrated) in the narrative present, whereas a flashback is a scene that’s chronologically embedded in the narrative present. And so on...."
Posted by The Cowardly Lion at Tuesday, December 13, 2011