Apertúra Film-Vizualitás-Elmélet
Summer, 2009. [Vol. IV. Nr. 4.] | Nyomtatás |

Visual comic genres

Ervin Török: Some aspects of cinematic satire (Essay)

The essay discusses characteristics of cinematic satire through analyzing examples taken from genre films. Its starting point is the definition of the deleuzean "comedic". According to Deleuze the comic sign is based on the specific relationship between the actor and the environment: the action leads to a change in the environment. The "comic sign" defines the relationship between actor and environment as the piercean index, in other words, as a connection where the characteristic relationship between actor and environment is created by the local contact. The satiric sign is similar to the comedic since both are based upon indexical connection. At the same time, unlike the comedic, the satiric presupposes not the comic restructuring of the situation, but is based upon the tension between the spectacle and the recognition of the viewer. Satiric communication relies on the play of points of view, and the indexical relation triggering the comic effect is realized on the level of points of view, which reveals the substantial similarity between satiric presentation and the polyphony of parody.

Lisa Trahair: Short-Circuiting the Dialectic: Narrative and Slapstick in the Cinema of Buster Keaton

This essay undertakes a detailed analysis of various operations of the comic in Buster Keaton's two-reeler One Week. Showing how theorists of cinematic comedy diverge from one another in their definitions of slapstick and the gag, Trahair in turn argues that these definitions also impact on how the relation between the comic and narrative is conceived. By taking up Georges Bataille's distinction between restricted and general economy, Trahair offers a post-structuralist response to formalist approaches to narratological theory.

Ágnes Matuska: Buster Keaton and the poetics of attraction

The study offers an analysis of two films by Buster Keaton (The Playhouse, 1921 and Sherlock Jr., 1924), focusing on attraction as a central representational principle in both works, and argues that these films display a unique logic of representation. This is due, on the one hand, to the explicit treatment of attraction-based entertainment, and on the other hand on the fact that Keaton extends the attraction to the way he is using the cinematic apparatus. Such an understanding of attraction in Keaton's cinema allows for the reinterpretation of the traditionally perceived tension between gag and narrative - in a wider context the narratives of the discussed films themselves function similarly to gags.

László Séra: Humorous and rhetorical elements of political cartoons

A political cartoon is an amusing and effective drawing that reflects and shapes opinions and attitudes related to politics. It is not merely a humorous illustration but rather a persuasive way of communication. The political cartoonist uses different means to convey his message, such as symbols, exaggeration, tag, compression of ideas, analogies, and irony. The various cognitive mechanisms that are relevant to creating and understanding cartoons are known, and include models such as conceptual metaphor and metonymy, conceptual integration (blending), as well as cultural and cognitive models. The role of these schemes have been discussed by a relatively new trend of research in the field. The present essay summarizes the rhetorical aspects, introduces the concepts that have been defined by cognitive linguistics, stressing specifically the differences between verbal and visual humor, and the characteristics of cartoons that may be approached through visual metaphors.

Contemporary Hungarian film

Lóránt Stőhr: Bodily attractions. Theatricality in contemporary Hungarian cinema

In my essay I explore the problem of theatricality in contemporary Hungarian cinema. I analyze the oeuvre of two young directors, Szabolcs Hajdu and Kornél Mundruczó. I focus on the significance of theatricality in deconstructing the classical narrative and creating new modes of attraction for the audience. I also try to show the significant difference between the respective theatricality in Hajdu's and Mundruczo's movies.

Zoltán Gregus: Images of Strangeness in András Jeles's Films

The paper discusses the perpetuation of unconventional stylistic features of the modern film, as well as its possibilities of introducing a new, existential meaning in the Hungarian film production of the 1970s and 1980s. "New-narrative" films experimenting with narrative forms display an ambition of the filmic medium to join other, extraneous formations (such as music, literature, theatre), fulfilling thus the modernist ideal that the film as a "free indirect discourse" will demolish the monolithic unity of filmic narration. The study highlights three focal points of the above ambition in András Jeles' films, examining: the collision and confrontation of documentary and fictional narrative forms; the asynchronous relations of image markers not subordinated to the narration, as well as sound markers; and finally the presence of the paradox visual field occurring with the refraction of the filmic nature. All three aspects subserve the investigation of the experience of strangeness or eventlikeness, understood in the sense of an unrepeatable individuality (ipseity) and otherness (alterity), which in Jeles' art emerges as a result of the overdrawn film image, or the insertion of some sort of peculiar viewpoint.

Nóra Selmeczi: Miracles and tales

Diána Groó, member of a new generation of Hungarian filmmakers known as the Simó-class started her career around the end of the 1990s. Her ouevre shows a powerful auterist intention, with themes showing the influence of the "Jewish renaissance", a revival of Jewish heritage and a generation's pursuit of Jewish identity after the change of regime in 1989. In her short films and feature Miracle in Cracow she establishes a net of symbols, carefully constructed from a few iconic motifs, drawing inspiration both from the topics of Ashkenazi Jewish tradition and history as well as mainstream society's stereotypes regarding Jews. This study aims at mapping this network, pointing out the central elements in the oeuvre and thus introducing a new points of reference for interpretation.

Péter Kőhalmi: The thousand faces of reality - cinema beyond the disintegration of causality

Péter Kőhalmi analyzes Slow Mirror, a film by the Buharov brothers. The aim of his writing is to approximate the film, to gain a possible understanding of the ultimate incomprehensibility of Slow Mirror. However, this leads to another problem. If something continually escapes the frame of rationality, the theories and categories through which rationality is revealed can also serve us only temporarily, pushing our reading toward new theoretical alternatives. The task of Kőhalmi's writing thus becomes two-faced: to approximate the film on the one hand, and on the other hand, within the frames of narratological and aesthetic understandings, to activate a theory - the theory of Miklós Erdély - which serves the conceptualization of the film as a whole. (In a reversed sense: if his analysis gains its aim, perhaps we will know more about the film and about the limitations of the activated theories, which thus may support the proposition that Erdély's multilayered theory is not helpful regarding merely his own artistic works or the neoavantgarde, but may be applied in connection with contemporary cinema as well.)

Student's workshop

Ákos Kele Fodor: Base Certificate of Illusion

The main thesis of the study is that Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) explores not only the problematic relationship between art and reality, but more specifically, it discusses the relation of film to reality. By a thorough analysis of different devices comprehensible as visual tricks (editing, structuring of the filmic space, etc.) we can argue that Blow-Up suggests that our own seeing deceives us, inasmuch as the visual experience is constituted by the viewer's intellectual involvement. The viewer, precisely like the protagonist of the film, seems to witness a murder, while his interpreting process is analogous with the structuring of the film - reality, for the viewer, equals the fictional illusion of the film. By using the aforementioned visual tricks Antonioni aims to break down seeing itself that establishes the film experience, similarly to the avant-garde tradition.

Eszter Harmat: Károly Makk's adaptaion of Örkény's Macskajáték (Cat's Play)

The essay examines the connection between István Örkény's novel Cat's Play (Macskajáték) and its adaptation directed by Károly Makk. The brief overview focuses on the narrative structure of the novel and the film respectively, and pays attention to the narrative changes, whereby the film can be simultaneously close to both Örkény's novel and its own medium.