CINEMATIC DIRECT ADDRESS Part One: Mapping the Field - Video by Catherine Grant
This entry has been superseded by the following, later FSFF entry so why don't you head over there straightaway?
On Friday March 1, 2013, Film Studies For Free's author had the very great pleasure of interviewing Tom Brown, Lecturer in Film Studies at Kings College, London, on the subject of direct address in the cinema, a topic he knows a huge amount about as author of the only book completely dedicated to it: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012) [It's up already - you can find it here]. You can read the preface to Tom's book online here (PDF), check out another article he uploaded about it here, and visit his wonderfully illustrated Tumblr on the topic here.
The recorded interview will be presented in two parts here at FSFF: part one is above and part two -- "YOU LOOKING AT ME? On Buñuel's LOS OLVIDADOS" -- will follow soon in a separate entry accompanied, as is this blog's wont, by a full compendium of links to further online scholarly studies of this (of course not exclusively) cinematic phenomenon.
In the period of time between recording this interview and completing the editing of it for this blog, Leigh Singer's great video 'supercut' on breaking the fourth wall (see below) was published, to merited acclaim, at PressPlay. Singer's essay -- which uses examples from a number of the same films as FSFF's video, is a hugely witty, skillful, and highly thought-provoking accompaniment to it. If you know of any further videographic studies of cinematic direct address, or indeed any other good resources, please let FSFF know about them via the comments.
Thanks! Yes! You there!
Breaking the 4th Wall Movie Supercut by Leigh Singer
A compilation of scenes and moments from films that all "break the fourth wall" - that is, acknowledge (usually directly to the camera, and therefore the audience) that they're part of a movie. The term comes from the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play.
The montage includes 54 different films (some used more than once) from perhaps the very first example of breaking the fourth wall right up to today. There were so many other great examples I couldn't find room for (sadly, The Dude and The Big Lebowski's narrator don't abide here), I'd love to hear which 4th wall breakers you'd also include. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Leigh_Singer on Twitter. Look forward to hearing your comments!