‘Resistance to Narrative in Narrative Fiction: Excessive Complexity in Quentin Dupieux’s Réalité (2014)’

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    For a significant share of audiences today, film and serial television form one of the main means of engaging with fictional stories. But in recent years, film and television have also become a site for reflecting on the possibilities and limits of narrative forms, with an abundance of mainstream and arthouse films experimenting with fragmented, ambiguous, contradictory, incoherent, or unreliable storytelling. While many of these complex stories arguably serve to intensify the pleasures of narrative sense-making, some also seem to playfully challenge the fundamental principles of narration and narrativity. This article aims to concentrate on the latter effect, claiming that some contemporary films are taking narrative complexity beyond its classical – i.e. moderate and mimetically motivated – form in order to playfully subvert filmic storytelling principles. As a case in point we examine Quentin Dupieux’s [2014] Réalité [Reality], a film that makes excessive and bold use of narrative paradoxes, contradictions and impossibilities to offer an overtly playful, metafictional resistance to the principles of classical film narration. We argue that Réalité presents a case that does not only subvert classical storytelling principles, but also parodies the by now clichéd characteristics of complexifying strategies, as well as the habitual modes of interpretation that viewers have developed to interpret complex films. Hereby, the film demonstrates tongue- in-cheek resistance to the dominant patterns and conventions of popular complex film narratives.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)1-18
    Aantal pagina's19
    TijdschriftGlobal Media Journal – Australian Edition
    Volume11
    Nummer van het tijdschrift1
    StatusPublished - 2017

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