What is an unreliable narrator

Lexicon of film terms

unreliable narrator

also: implausible narrator; .: unreliable narrator

Narrative-theoretical term from literary studies that denotes the unreliability of the statements of the literary narrator. This refers either to the narrative reality as reality in fiction (factual unreliability) or to the norms and values ​​of the narrated world, respectively. of narration itself (normative unreliability). The term is controversial in film narratology, since a "narrator" in the classic literary theoretical sense cannot be accepted in the medium of film; therefore it is mostly from here narrative unreliability or unreliable narration the speech, whereby the unreliability of a non-anthropomorphic, narrative instance ‘can be ascribed to a cinematic narrative.
In relation to the medium of film, the term `` unreliable narrator '' is only useful for a special case of narrative unreliability in which a character functions as an explicit narrator (as in, for example Fight Club, USA / Germany 1999, David Fincher). This explicit narrator figure is not synonymous with the narrative instance, since only the latter can dispose of all cinematic channels of expression. Often the explicit narrator reports with the help of a voice-over. The representation of the events often leads to a - conscious or unconscious - deception of the recipient. This can go hand in hand with the misleading of other diegetic figures (such as in The Usual Suspects, USA / Germany 1995, Bryan Singer).

Literature: Booth, Wayne C .: The Rhetoric of Fiction. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2008 [1961]. - Nünning, Ansgar (ed.): Unreliable narration. Studies on the theory and practice of implausible storytelling in English-language storytelling literature. Trier: WVT 1998. - Laass, Eva: Broken Taboos, Subjective Truths. Forms and Functions of Unreliable Narration in Contemporary American Cinema. A Contribution to Film Narratology. Trier: WVT 2008. - Vogt, Robert: “Can a reliable narrator tell unreliably? On the concept of "unreliability" in literary and film studies. "In: Storytelling in the film. Unreliability - audiovisuality - music. Edited by Susanne Kaul, Jean-Pierre Palmier and Timo Skrandies. Bielefeld: Transcript 2009, pp. 35-55.

Credentials:

teller

narrative instance

Voice over


Article last changed on 07/25/2013


Author: DO


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