Postmodern Cinema, Part Four: Narrative

The Cineaste's Dilemma

Post-structuralist narratology

Throughout this series of articles, I’ve been emphasising the idea of ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ as a distinguishing feature of postmodernism. With postmodern film, this idea can be expressed even more simply – incredulity towards narrative. After Citizen Kane simultaneously interwove two different storylines – each taking place in different temporal and spatial locations – post-structuralist filmmakers have questioned and altered conventional storytelling structures, forms, character archetypes and narratives in their experimentation with the capabilities of the filmic form. The ethos behind this is ‘fragmentation’: a fracturing of the expected, conventional order of a film’s plot by shifting between different times, spaces and characters in the creation of a non-linear narrative, or no narrative at all.

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