When cinema borrows from stage: theatrical artifice through explicitness in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Dogville

Piazza, Roberta (2016) When cinema borrows from stage: theatrical artifice through explicitness in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Dogville. Social Semiotics, 26 (4). pp. 366-384. ISSN 1035-0330

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Abstract

Framed within the debate on the different nature of theatrical and filmic communication, the study considers two avant-garde films by Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and von Trier, Dogville, as examples of texts that travel from one medium to another and show closeness to the theatre. This is revealed not solely through the artificiality and the enclosure of the setting and the mise-en-scène, but also at the level of the discourse understood as the ensemble of images, music, gestures, and dialogue. The two films exhibit an unnaturalness unusual in cinema, a medium in which the editing realises a seemingly realistic representation of characters and events. The discussion focuses on how such a sensation of artificial non-realism is achieved in the films. It is argued that it derives from the marked explicit relation between the various levels of communication in the two films, the verbal and the visual, as well as between the dialogue contributions by the different participants in the narrative, characters, and narrator. The construct adopted for the analysis is indexicality, which is interpreted in a broad sense and that, as is discussed, contributes to the “monstrative” dimension of the films in terms of the explicitness of the communication.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: indexicality, monstration, explicitness, verbal–visual, deixis
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
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Depositing User: Roberta Piazza
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2015 11:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 16:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56692
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