Narration like typoglycemia

This essay begs the question of who makes the narrative. While screenwriting, lighting, and casting is helpful in telling the plot, it is the audience that makes sense of the implicit qualities of the film that makes the narrative. “The first concept [of narration] is concerned with how an event is presented, how it happens, rather than what is presented of what happens.” (Branigan 65) When I read this, I immediately thought of movies such as The Lake House and Momento. Both deal with flashbacks that really complicate the idea of linear narrativity. But the use of flashbacks and the introduction of new characters does not confuse the audience. In the preface, Branigan says, “Today narrative is increasingly viewed as a distinctive strategy for organizing data bout the world, for making sense and significance.” ( xi) The audience makes sense of the editing done by filmmakers to understand the narrative. To me, narrativity is similar to typoglycemia- where the words can be jumbled, but you still understand what the word is. Your mind just pieces it together.

In this essay, it is asked “Do we need to hear what B is saying, or do we learn more by watching A’s behavior, or seeing S’s reaction?(71)  I think you learn different aspects by what the viewer is concentrating on, but if you look at all of them collectively, you can learn more because you are experiencing different points of view. When looking at narrativity through this lens, I cannot help but compare it to literary narration. When literary narration occurs whether first, second, or third, we just take it as is. Very rarely do we think that the narrator is unreliable unless it is written as such.  Film does something else. It allows us to witness the performance of characters which allows the audience to suspect and infer something beyond the text through directing and cinematography. How do you think movies like The Lake House and Momento contribute/take away from narrativity?

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About Tricia Zephyr

I am a work in progress
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One Response to Narration like typoglycemia

  1. amelia daly says:

    I agree that we have several aspects, or camera angles, to consider in order to fully understand the narrative. Branigan also says, “while a given narration may be familiar, […] it can, if fact, be only one of many ways an event may be told.” (72) I think this statement also applies to literary narrative. I think we are always considering the perspective of the narrator’s point of view, but also we often see authors who bounce around their scenes in order to give us clues that the narrator does not have. Much like movies such as Momento. I personally did not enjoy the jarring repetition of that movie, but I definitely appreciated its uniqueness. I think it surely contributes to narrative by showcasing a poignant psychological point of view as yet another example of the various “many ways” a story can be told.

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