Essays on cinematic narrative. The focus is a set of dynamics collected under the concept of folding, a related system of techniques to model agency and causality.

About these Examples

Published: 15 Feb 2014

There are three examples. All of them deal with annotating the film based on what is happening when an observer first sees it, based on the cues they are primed to see.

We posit three fictional viewers, each with a different expectation from the film, different watching styles and different background knowledge.

A reason for having three different viewers is our belief that good films can give highly personal rewards. You cannot just talk about a film as if it is the same for everyone. You have to speak of a film experience, and all the situated contexts that bear on that experience.

Each example chooses just one instant per viewer in the film. So the annotation is not of the film or even the whole film experience. It is just of the film experience so far. The reason for this is that when viewing a film, most of what you absorb comes not from what is on screen. Some of what you add is what you believe will or should happen next. So stopping the example midway in the film is our way of trying to capture not just what is understood of what has been seen, but what might be seen.

Memento is a great test case for this because it alternates between pasts and futures with a dizzying blend.

Sally Mindler of the first example has an investment in understanding Nolan's previous film, knows certain key objects, and is alert for similar narrative devices.

Our Tony Smutzel in the second example believes the important thing is understanding who is in charge; who is telling the story.

The third example features Grey Singleton, who is concerned primarily with how space and spatial relationships affect a story.

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© copyright Ted Goranson, 2014