Self Reflexive

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Movies and Meaning – Summary
Chapter 8 – Modes of Screen Reality
Pages 289-325

Key Outcomes
• Explain the basic modes of screen reality.
• Describe the principles of narrative, character behavior, and audiovisual design that operate in each mode of screen reality. • Differentiate ordinary fictional realism, historical realism, documentary realism, and fictional documentary realism. • Distinguish two modes of cinematic self-reflexivity. • Explain why multiple modes of screen reality are possible in cinema.

Key Terms
• screen reality
• realism
• expressionism
• fantasy
• cinematic self-reflexivity
• ordinary fictional realism

• historical realism
• documentary realism
• mockumentary
Overview: The concept of screen reality 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. Different kinds of films create different representational realities on screen and relate in different ways to the actual social worlds inhabited by their flesh and blood spectators. The cinema can configure physical, social, or psychological reality in many different ways or modes. Cinema persuades film viewers to believe in the validity of various uniquely constituted on-screen worlds – realism, expressionism, fantasy (& the fantastic), and cinematic self-reflexivity.

Overview: One of the most commonly encountered modes of screen reality, but one must take care in discussing it. Realism is a difficult term to pin down, in that it has many meaning. For example, is what you see on the screen real in a realistic sense, or an artificial construct of reality? It depends on what you’re seeing. Since the term realism is so powerful and complex in the world of cinema, one must consider it through subdivisions....
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