Film Studies Reality Effects and Truth Effects
Recap • Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: a SF film about Los Angeles in 2019 is inspired by the cityscape of Osaka around 1980.
Take or Make a Sketch • John Constable’s series of paintings of the sky
Take or Make a Sketch • Constable’s studies on cloud-formation were also based on Alexander Cozens’ manual on drawing
Reality Effects and Truth Effects • Film is not, no matter how realistic it is, the simple, objective recording of reality but the rearrangement of it. • ‘Virtual reality, O.K. You know what virtual means? O.K., it is like really real. So virtual reality is practically, totally real. But not.’ Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lois Kaiser in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts
Reality Effects and Truth Effects ‘Realism’ is a relative concept in two senses 1) There is no pure or perfect form of realism. Some films are more realistic than others. 2) The filmmaker’s and the viewer’s ideas of reality are relative. An alternative way to describe realism To discuss realism in terms of effects which a film create on the audience.
Reality Effects and Truth Effects • ‘Reality Effects’ - they come into being when representations in moving images give the audience the impression that they mimic the ‘facticity’ of the world around us, or surface appearance. Roland Barthes
Reality Effects and Truth Effects • ‘Truth Effects’ - they come into being when representations in moving images agree with viewer’s ideas of what is true about the world in a general sense. They have to do with whether texts conform to what she generally believes about experience.’ Michel Foucault
Reality Effects • Richard Attenborough’s biographical film, Gandhi, imitates how Mahatma Ghandi looked, how he spoke, how the world in which he lived looked like and what his life was like - creation of an impression that the film is mimicking facticity, that is, a reality effect.
Reality Effects • Jinnah and GhandiHunger strikeOpeningAssassination Gandhi interview, Jinnah, 1.17 1.59
Reality Effects and Truth Effects • Moving images have ‘truth-effects’ even when they are not true. They have truth effects as long as they agree to what the audience believes true. • Samuel Fuller’s House of Bamboo (US, 1955) display the images of Japan and Japanese women. False for those who know Japan and Japanese women but true for those who believe them true.
Reality Effects Materialist approach to our cognition Things exist independently of the individual’s knowledge of them. Truth Effects Idealist approach to our cognition Things do not exist in themselves. They exist only as ideas that each of us has of them. Reality Effects and Truth Effects
Reality Effects and Truth Effects Materialist conception Idealist conception
Film Realism and Reality/Truth Effects • Our impression of moving images being realistic or not depends on both reality and truth effects that they exert on us. • Reality and truth effects as alternative to film realism
Reality and Truth Effects • Analyse the reality and truth effects that a film make on you. • RisoAmaro, Giuseppe de Santis’s 1949 film. • Francesca and Walter are a criminal couple. To avoid the police, Francesca joins a group of migration workers. She meets a rice worker, Silvana, and is later rejoined by Walter in a rice farm. Robbery, triangle love and murder takes place.
Reality and Truth Effects • Reality Effects • Shot on location in the countryside of Vercelli and in Veneria and Selve Farms in Lignana, Piemonte. • Non-professional actors found locally. • Local dialects • Costumes worn by those who worked in rice farms around 1949. • Truth Effects • SilvanaMangano as Silvana, Miss Italia contestant. (If the film convinces you that she is a peasant woman.) • Dialogues are added later and some dubbed by professional actors. Lip movements and sound do not synchronize. (We believe that they are spoken by peasants.)
Reality and Truth Effects • Reality Effects • Social situation - Reliance on migration workers - Their exploitation - North/South divide • Customs • Lives of migration workers in farms • Truth Effects • Social situation • Peasants wishing to get out of poverty • Peasants even prepared to commit crimes (stealing and cheating) • Italians are emotional and amorous • Italian way of love
Reality and Truth Effects • Analyse the reality and truth effects that a film make on you. • OssessioneLuchino Visconti’s 1943 film. Gino, a young drifter, stops at a roadside restaurant run by Giovanna, who marries a man a lot older than her. They fall in love and kill Giovanna’s husband pretending it was an accident.