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Playing with the mind


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#1 Salik Shah

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:59 PM

A film, without any visible protagonist, plays with the audience and forces them to become active as the invisible protagonist. The audience feel s/he is there, s/he feels part of the story. Normally the audience can connect to the film through the characters playing on the screen, but is there any film that keeps the gap which only the audience would fill?
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:06 AM

One of the only films I can think of in recent memory that somewhat fits that description is Goodbye, Dragon Inn:

http://en.wikipedia....bye,_Dragon_Inn

Not really a "film without a protagonist," the aging movie theater being the real protagonist, this film does require the viewer to fill the gaps and stay focused on the almost non-existent narrative.

Other films that I can think of along these lines are Buñuel's La Voie Lactée, some of Tarkovski's work, such as The Sacrifice, Andrei Rublev, Solaris, etc.

http://en.wikipedia....ndrei_Tarkovsky
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 11:35 AM

Oh, and some of Peter Greenaway films also fit this category, nost notably his earlier features and short films.
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#4 Salik Shah

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 11:51 PM

Yes, Andrei Rublev to some extent. But I'm not satisfied.

http://www.theauteur...s/2227/comments

"I was thinking in terms of the maximum possible extent of interactivity between the film medium and the viewer. In drama it’s possible to include the audience during the performance, but is it was possible on film? Has anyone done similar experiments on the cinematic medium?

The POV shot of the balloon rider in the first part of Andrei Rublev makes us curious about the rider. We begin to imagine. Let’s take a radical departure from here: let’s expand this short into a full-length feature and leave a void in the film — written for the viewer — which only the viewer could fill. It will be like a metafilm experience but real.

Is it possible? Can we structure a film like this? Is film really that inflexible? I’m trying to make my question clear — but words fail here. Even films seem to fail to do what we are discussing about here."
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#5 Chris Millar

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:54 AM

David Lynch - Darkened Room

a film about bananas



Perhaps its just breaking the forth wall, not exactly what you're after - but reading up on it could follow on to other references ...
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:09 AM

Did it ever occur to you hat maybe the reason people watch a movie is an audience likes to go along for the ride and does not necessarily want to drive the bus? If you want to become personally involved in the action, don't watch a film, go play a video game. Narrative cinema is story telling. The audience derives a vicarious thrill through voyeuristic identification with the characters. I think if an audience becomes too personally involved in a narrative, it in some way destroys the reality they feel and disrupts the suspension of belief, essentially eroding the purpose of the narrative aspect of film making. In order to become personally involved in a narrative, an audience member would have to be able to make choices that could effect to storyline, which negates any artistry the film maker might have attempted because art is, by definition, manipulation so simply forcing an audience to be attentive is not enough and creates resentment in that audience member.

Watching a movie shouldn't be work, like all great art, it should be about emotion. A protagonist and an antagonist is essential in a narrative even if they are both the same person as in the case of "Psycho". Placing the audience member as the protagonist, forcing them to become personally involved in the story as themselves and not by identifying with the characters, then not allowing them to effect the storyline essentially make them impotent and is ultimately unsatisfying. Even in those few experimental films where the characters speak to the camera and by extension to the audience as though they were speaking to another character in the film then give the audience the choice as to how the plot should proceed be electronic vote which quiet literally involves them in the film have failed miserably. An audience doesn't want to do that much work. What they ultimately truly want from the film experience is to escape from themselves and their lives for a brief time.
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#7 Salik Shah

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 06:40 PM

James, perhaps what you say is one of the fundamental criterions of filmmaking. But I was wondering if there was any successful experiments where an auteur used the idea of audience activity to the extreme?

There are a few brilliant pointers on the other forum:
http://www.theauteur...s/2227/comments

Audience want a ride. Ok, I'll drive but since their destination is in my hands, I want to be a little more careful. I don't want to leave them nowhere. Audience don't like to think, they just want to be shown. But some films talk to you and leave you thinking. They entertain, they amuse and you meet someone you know or would like to know or meet yourself on the screen. So the idea of audience activity makes sense and has been an underlying aspect of these films.

Although activism isn't my goal, I want to tell something meaningful through my work. And if I can make them participate in the medium, it will give me more power as a director. It's all about playing with the viewer's mind after all.

Edited by Salik Shah, 01 May 2009 - 06:44 PM.

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