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Disclosure of the everyday : the undramatic achievements in narrative film

By Andrew Klevan


The claim providing the starting point for this thesis is that most narrative films\ud are in an overtly dramatic, melodramatic or comic idiom. These modes seem most\ud adept at tapping the visually expressive potentialities of the art and satisfying the needs\ud of the audience: the narratives of most films are structured around either confrontation,\ud or colourful events, or crisis, or periods of significant change, and they are expressed\ud in a demonstrative visual style. This thesis is interested in the way a few films uncover\ud profundity by structuring narrative around a range of life experiences unavailable to the\ud melodramatic mode as it has developed in world cinema; life experiences based in the\ud everyday, that is in the routine or repetitive, in the apparently banal or mundane, the\ud uneventful.\ud The first part of the thesis discusses the nature of the achievement of these\ud undramatic films which address the everyday: how they help us to understand the\ud medium of film, its possibilities, and how they enhance our ways of viewing and\ud appreciating narratives. This section also focuses on the work of Stanley Cavell,\ud exploring the links between the everyday, film melodrama, and scepticism.\ud The second half of the thesis looks at the specific achievements of four films.\ud Here, the thesis continues the expressive tradition of film scholarship which analyses\ud the communication of meaning through the construction of mise-en-scene, exploring\ud how the themes, ideas, and happenings of a film are served by their stylistic strategies,\ud while further highlighting how such strategies may reveal significant possibilities of the\ud medium. In doing so it follows the approach of writers such as Stanley Cavell, V. F.\ud Perkins and George M. Wilson whilst redirecting this tradition by applying it to less\ud obviously expressive films

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