AbstractThere is a consensus amongst film historians that the practice of making narrative feature films started 110 years ago in Australia with The Story of The Kelly Gang(Charles Tait, Australia, 1906), the first released feature film. But what precisely is the practice of making narrative feature films?
There is a significant body of literature regarding the intrinsic nature of narrative cinema, as well as how to write, direct or produce narrative films. However, whilst much of this literature seeks to improve the practice of narrative feature filmmaking, what constitutes the practice–in the teleological sense–is a fundamental question in its own right.
In this thesis I articulate and defend an account of mainstream narrative feature filmmaking in terms of the purpose the current social practice of making mainstream narrative feature films serves. The central proposition defended is that the practice of making mainstream narrative feature films is intrinsically the practice of constructing an argument: to move the audience to a worthwhile conclusion in a worthwhile way.
I examine existing literature on the subject of argument in mainstream narrative feature films from academic and professional perspectives to demonstrate that it is not simply a case that mainstream narrative feature films have the capability to argue, or that some films can argue well, but that currently the practice of mainstream narrative feature filmmaking is fundamentally the practice of designing and delivering edifying arguments. If a film’s argument is removed or significantly flawed, then the film fails to meet the internal standards of the practice of mainstream narrative filmmaking.
In defending this claim, I set out in detail what is meant by the terms ‘mainstream’, ‘argument’, ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in terms of the current practice, how argument manifests and functions within a cinematic context, as well as an account of how films compensate for flawed argumentation.
|Date of Award
|3 Feb 2021
|Michael Sergi (Supervisor) & Damian Cox (Supervisor)