Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Compare the role of voice-over narration in any two (or three) films Essay - 2

Compare the role of voice-over narration in any two (or three) films screened in this course (Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orang - Essay Example One such device is the effective use of the voice-over narrative. This technique has been employed to varying degrees since film gained a foothold as an art form. The classical Hollywood film noir tradition relied significantly on voice-over narrations, as they were particularly popular with the audiences. The voice-over narrations in the classical tradition featured prominently where mysteries of murder were concerned. These voice-overs were also efficient in films that featured significantly high levels of tension. Directors of classical films on women also preferred to use the voice-overs to highlight certain themes that revolved around the element of women. These were classical films whose central characters were women protagonists. Some of the classical films that relied on voice-over narrations sought to bring out the plight of women within the domestic space. Before the voice-over narrative, silent film used similar mechanisms. The director, or a responsible entity, would use words flashed on the screen to allow the audience a brief glimpse into the action from an omniscient perspective. Such a film device is not in any way new or inventive; it is a story-telling technique used by directors to elaborate on a plot, based on the needs of the plot and the messages they wish to convey to the audience. This analysis will track and consider the ways in which directors of three distinct films—Dr. Strangelove (1964), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), and The Big Lebowski (1998)—employ this technique. The analysis will reveal the different nuanced levels of meaning that the individual directors hope to invoke using story-telling techniques, such as the voice-over narrative. Kubrick himself, when discussing how he would cast and direct a satire on the lunacy of the Cold War, noted that it should be presented to the audience in a form of dark humour. In this way, it could more readily convey the levels of truth and the different meanings that are p ortrayed (Bilandzic & Buselle, 2011, p. 30). To accomplish this end, Kubrick employed many techniques that sought to mirror elements of true life that the audience would readily identify with, and appreciate. One of the most powerful mechanisms that he employed, was presenting stories to the viewer in factual way, regardless of how utterly insane they might be in content. Kubrick further sought to provide a type of societal commentary that housed the work in a convenient, yet detached framework. Rather than allowing the individual characters to stand out, ultimately diminishing Kubrick’s message, the director used a central, omniscient or seemingly omniscient, narrator as a better mechanism. Kubrick was able to present serious and gripping subject matter in a satirical way, from a detached standpoint. The effect of the monotone voice-over narration, impressing an influential point of view on the viewer, further compounds the detachment. It was only necessary for the director to add elements of realism into a script already tinged by elements of absurdity, since the satire engaged the viewer with the preposterous nature of the Cold War and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) (Kirshner 2001, p. 40). In this way, the voice-over narration provided the necessary ethos that Kubrick required to accomplish a sense of realism and authority. Iguarta (2009, p. 58) offers a

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