Second part of our dossier on the manifestations and uses of the artificial in the cinema, in the continuity of the Escape Impossible.
We will process and of the different manifestations of the artificial, in three parts :
– The SCREEN IS A MASK STITCHED INTO THE NARRATIVE
– AWARENESS OF The ARTIFICIALITY
– The ARTIFICIAL, THE REAL, THE CINEMA
BE THE CINEMA, UNDERSTAND CINEMA
If fiction may seem understandable to some of the characters, this is mostly because the trajectories existential of these are guided or even governed according to the importance given to a fate predetermined by the looks worn by the film makers about it. Therefore, it is no longer only a matter for these characters to become aware of a part of artificiality present in their environment, but, more broadly, to understand that this entire environment is the framework for a work of fiction. Furthermore, it is on this awareness that is the effect extradiégétique (out of the universe of the story) where a character “breaks the fourth wall” and addresses the audience of its history, like Deadpool for example. We can consider this process as the logical extension of the principle already used in the literature, where the function of the protagonist is intertwined with that of the narrator. More of a novel thus plays on an ambiguity between autobiographical elements and stories romancés, taking in the two domains, which proves to be the most interesting in reality as in the imagination.
As we have see in the folder Evasion Impossible with the examples of The Lair of madness or Dellamorte Dellamore, the awareness of their artificiality can be a trauma can be dizzying for some of the characters, considering that their existence boils down then to a dead end of metaphysics, since it is impossible to negotiate with the ambitions of their creator and governor, over the past another level of reality. However, it may happen that the protagonists face the vertigo and welcome this discovery as an opening to another dimension of their existence, and not as the mere restriction of their free will. Investigate more closely the particular case of Jack Slater, the action hero archetypal of Last Action Hero. In the second part of the film of John McTiernan, Jack runs through a cinema screen and is reflected in the level of reality of the spectators of the franchise of which he is the hero. By discovering the physical laws of this reality ( such as the fact that a car doesn’t explode on the first impact of the ball came, or as a colossus of his character can be injured and suffer like the common mortal), Slater, carried out by the same occasion, the conventions unrealistic that govern his universe of fiction (his near-invulnerability, his inability to say curse words, and the overdose of pyrotechnics).
McTiernan does not spare his character, and submit to psychological suffering, including a memorable scene where Jack finds himself face to the actor who performs it, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet, at the end of Last Action Hero, Slater returned to his alternate universe feeling enriched and strengthened by this experience that he has lived in the sides of Danny, one of his fans. His side of the screen, Jack address winks at the teen and understands that if he takes his place as inspector of police for the expeditious methods, its role is ultimately to entertain and amuse the audience to another world. Of course, the case of Last action hero can be summed up in the return to fiction, through the real world, since, de facto, Slater does not venture into our real world. You can do the experiment at home and you will find that Slater does not cross the never the screen of your tv. The screen through which it passes in the film, propelled him into the world of Danny, a New York cradoc the antithesis of Los Angeles sunny, scenery of the film Jack Slater. The world of Danny is a nice seem more realistic and less manichean than that of which escaped Jack, it is none the less a fictional universe, placed to another level of reality in the narrative.
If we were to place the world of Danny on a scale of artificiality and realism, it is therefore between the level of action movies of Jack Slater and the level of our real world. And like Danny, we are in a place of spectators and we are seeing moved to the path of Jack, who at the end of the story, do not feel the loneliness that could legitimately have given his existential condition in particular. On the contrary, Jack, by accepting its share of artificiality, has understood that it belonged to a repository of film, and more broadly cultural, of which the spectator is an accomplice; a link moving and rare thus created between the protagonist and the audience, beyond the screens that separate the different levels of reality. A link that allows you to Jack the character and Danny the viewer to conceive of the cinema in the same way, and understand both its language, its grammar, its vocabulary, to have fun together. A link language.
We can consider the approach of John McTiernan full of self-deprecating humor to an action movie which he himself wrote the most beautiful hours, depending on the paradigm of classicism – modernism – postmodernism. In the Face of the traditional approach, which reinforces values, and the modern approach that the reverse, the Last Action Hero would then be to label in the category of postmodern, where all of these prior values are exceeded, pulverized, or simply diverted, and treated with distance and mockery, in the best case. Here the approach is fertile, and with a tenderness and empathy, but in other cases such as The Cabin in the woods from Drew Goddard, the tone is more fierce.
We follow here a band of students who evolves in what seems to be at first glance a conglomeration of clichés in lieu of a universe of horror film. Add to this the fact that as the plot progresses, each individual in the group settles in a stereotype from him also decades of film exploitation horror. These characters, the survivors of the least, to discover that they are viewed without their knowledge by the engineers board and that they are the protagonists of a story serving as the sacrificial ritual by the means of fiction. The principle of”ritual acts justifies the accumulation ostensible codes of horror cinema, since it is ceremonial, said of behavior representation.
Drew Goddard has chosen to build his film on a narrow ridge to serve as his concept eminently postmodern. A crest of aesthetic elements such as narrative to the artificiality obvious, that threatens at any moment to tip The Cabin in the woods in the grotesque or the posture of a maker of “small evil” of which the distance with the kind hijacked can go for an attitude cynical. Nevertheless, the reflections on the wear codes of fiction and types of stories are predictable are themes fertile enough for Goddard, allowing the passage to issue a relevant question : If the characters are aggregates of codes and clichés of film, so elements of writing could not be more artificial, can they in the end express a personality of its own ?
This is the underlying question of postmodernism, which is considering its own utility and its own creativity when it invests codes and values prior to its carve out a personality in a patchwork of references. The previous examples concerned the relationships between characters and their audience, but it may also be that a work in its entirety in vienna converse openly with its audience, thus assuming to be a fiction located in a cultural context, and artistic.
It is on this principle that is based the concept of the anthology, American Horror Story, thinking by these creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy as a precipitate of ingredients identifiable by the kind of terror and horror. If, during the first season, the series was setting up a story and emotional issues readable, taking the simple and effective of a haunted house and a family in crisis ; we see his progression up to the fifth season to a year-stylistic increasingly assumed more and more baroque. By its sequence assembly, dividing the year into different genres, sub-genres and even references specific references to cultural, aesthetic or historical excess of horror cinema), the series escapes gradually out of a need for fluidity of the narrative to prefer a expression mannerist, delectable to those who look at the style before considering the merits of the story. The bias of the fifth season is signed as soon as the stage is set : as in the first season, the plot (or rather the weaving of intrigues of various products) takes place in Los Angeles. But this time the stronghold will not be a suburban home, but a hotel’s art deco Hollywood, formalizing already the mannerism that will be rolled out soon on the screen.
Hollywood appears as the promised land of cinema, and more broadly, to what must be seen, admired, contemplated to exist, like the anthology which is constantly in the abyss its place in the history of the genre horror. Repository, the game heads to the archi-repository ; since it is no longer simply a question for the viewer aficionado to find the references, it must also include the location of these references in the story, to perceive the intended emotional of each, from the horrifying to the sublime through the grotesque. With it, postmodernism requires, the possibility that these three records come together in the same scene, which is to be taken into account since the use of different tones and registers to participate in the polymorphous character of the whole.
This treatment of a story, the lifeblood sucked out by the suresthétisation that accompanies it, laying there also a question about the artificiality evident of such an artistic process. The assembly, or the sampling, to borrow a phrase of music, the codes of a genre film is first and foremost a formula, a pattern without flesh. This formula therefore requires, in return, a story successful, readable and consistent for body. If one exceeds the need of the narrative to position themselves as the face and identifiable from the work, there is a risk of limiting our conception of a project such as American Horror Story, this sampling of codes, which can be fun to check off the list. De facto, an aesthetic discourse also this that there arises in the celebration of the artificial and comes out of our spirit of the narrative to return us to our place of viewer complicit and attentive.
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