5 March 2005
Jean Luc Godard's Weekend
as Didactic Self-Reflexive Cinema
According to Stephen Prince in Movies and Meaning: an Introduction to Film,
Screen Reality is a concept that pertains to the principles of time, space, character behavior and audiovisual design that filmmakers systematically organize in a given film to create an ordered world on-screen in which characters may act and in which a narrative may unfold.(262)
One mode of cinematic screen reality is self-reflexivity. While the other three modes of screen reality seek to sway the audience into accepting the authenticity of the world and the story that are on screen, the self-reflexive style deliberately attempts to tear down the illusion of the cinema. In doing so, it reinforces the awareness that film is socially and culturally constructed and that at its core, film is art, not reality. There are two purposes in using self reflexive techniques, either for comedy or with the hope of addressing a social or cultural issue. (Prince 290)
The more familiar of the two modes of self-reflexive cinema make use of a comedic style, and what's more, many contemporary comedies embody comedic self-reflexivity (Prince 291). These comedies do so because it facilitates a more personal rapport between the characters and the audience, thus amplifying the humor that can be seen in the narrative. However, there are certain limitations to comic self reflexivity. By presupposing the audience's familiarity with the humor or references in the narrative, the mode risks reaching an audience that does not relate to the material presented. Some films are unable to meet a large audience because their narratives are constructed from "inside" jokes that can not be understood by all who will see it. (Prince 290)
The other mode of self-reflexive cinema that addresses an issue of importance is commonly known as didactic self-reflexivity. Beginning in the 1920s with Bertolt... [continues]
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