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Seeing oneself speak: speech and thought in first-person cinema

Sorfa, David 2019. Seeing oneself speak: speech and thought in first-person cinema. JOMEC Journal (13) , pp. 104-121. 10.18573/jomec.185

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Cinema struggles with the representation of inner-speech and thought in a way that is less of a problem for literature. Film also destabilises the notion of the narrator, be they omniscient, unreliable or first-person. In this article I address the peculiar and highly unsuccessful cinematic innovation which we can call the ‘first-person camera’ or ‘first-person’ film. These are films in which the camera represents not just the point-of-view of a character but is meant to be understood as that character. Very few such films have been made, and I will concentrate on the way in which speech and thought are presented in Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1947) and Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947). I use Jacques Derrida’s critique of the idea of ‘hearing oneself speak’ and phenomenology’s dream of direct experience to explore the generally understood failure of such films and conclude by considering the implications of such a technique for a homunculus theory of mind.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 2049-2340
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2018
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 09:39

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