Monday 15 April 2013

Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address and Metalepsis in the Cinema and other Media

You can read Tom Brown's essay on the above video here.



[L]istening back to our conversation, I was worried about how often the two of us [...] said that characters in the film “look at us” – it is absolutely my claim about direct address that the device makes this possible (possible fictionally), though I think one has to be careful and clear about distinguishing between looks “at us” and ones that, though they might be at the camera, don’t quite carry this promise. However, on reflection, I think Catherine’s video essay brings out something that is very clearly in the film and that is how our position as spectators of Los Olvidados is something we are encouraged to reflect on; our “presence” is an active part of the film’s rhetoric. [Tom Brown on his conversation with Catherine Grant in the videos above: Breaking the Fourth Wall Tumblr, April 15, 2013]

As previously announced here, Film Studies For Free's author had the very great pleasure of interviewing Tom Brown, Lecturer in Film Studies at King's College, London, on the subject of direct address in the cinema, a topic he knows a huge amount about as author of one of the very few full length studies completely dedicated to it: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012). 

The conversation, recorded on Friday March 1, 2013, has been animated in video by FSFF's author and is presented above in two parts which are preceded by a short compilation video of the moments in Luis Buñuel's 1950 film Los olvidados when actors/characters look into the camera; these instances are discussed in detail in Part Two of the "Cinematic Direct Address" videos. You can read Tom's essay on the first video at his wonderful Tumblr on Direct Address here.

The videos are accompanied below, as is this blog's wont, by a sizeable 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 (linked to below) was published, to much merited acclaim, at PressPlay. If you know of any further videographic studies of cinematic direct address, or indeed any other good resources to add to the below list, please let FSFF know about them via the comments.

By the way, if there are any east coast of Ireland-based readers of this blog perusing this paragraph, FSFF's author is gearing up to visit the very fair city of Dublin at the end of this week to give a public lecture and participate in a panel discussion at a free event on digital forms of film and moving image studies at Filmbase in Temple Bar.

Her fellow panel participants will be BF Taylor (Film Studies, Dublin Business School; see his great collection of video essays here), Matthew Causey (Arts Technology Research Lab, Trinity College Dublin), Kylie Jarrett, Lecturer in Multimedia (Centre for Media Studies, NUI Maynooth) and Steven Benedict, Broadcaster, Writer, Producer (and author of some very fine video essays on film himself - watch them here).

It would be lovely to break this blog's own fourth wall and see you there!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really helpful videos! I am currently in a Film Studies course as part of my International Baccalaureate diploma and decided to do an Independent Study on breaking the fourth wall in television series. I found just what I needed!