Omission, Suggestion, Completion: Film and the Imagination of the Spectator

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    This article counters the widespread assumption that film is exclusively a medium of showing, presentation or appearing by emphasizing the importance of the viewer’s act of imagination.

    At the center of attention is the aesthetic principle of omission, suggestion, and completion in film – in other words, cases in which a conspicuous elision and filmic evocation set in motion an act of sensual imagining on the viewer’s part: The viewer’s visual and aural imagining fills in and enriches what the film’s visuals or its soundtrack both conceal and allude to at the same time.

    The essay may also be seen as a first step toward a poetics of omission, suggestion and completion, as it discusses altogether ten strategies of how to omit and suggest. Examples of visual and aural completion come from films like Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Tartuffe (1925), Fritz Lang’s M (1931), Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964), Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass (1976), Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997), Dogville (2003) by Lars von Trier, Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) and Shirin (2008) by Abbas Kiarostami.

    The text is a translated and strongly revised version of my introduction to the volume Auslassen, Andeuten, Auffüllen. Der Film und die Imagination des Zuschauers (Munich: 2012) that I co-edited with Hans Jürgen Wulff. Translator: Brian Currid.
    Originele taal-2English
    Aantal pagina's1
    TijdschriftScreening the Past : an international electronic journal of visual media and history
    Nummer van het tijdschrift43
    StatusPublished - 6-apr-2018

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