Theory Response: Conclusion

The persistence of the realist tendency is further aided by the expansion of its definition to include not just physical reality but psychological realism as well. Kracauer actually makes a similar observation about the gap between signifier and signified in film even though his theory is not based on semiotics per se. He points out that an inherent quality of film is that natural objects filmed exist in a sea of indeterminacy with their meanings determined very much by the changing contexts in which they are placed (303). As such, filmed natural objects have the potential to link the physical dimension to all possible latent psychological meanings they might possess until such a time where a specific psychophysical correspondence is privileged by the context set in the film. This allows filmed natural objects to possess what Lucien Sève calls the “anonymous state of reality” (qtd. in Kracauer 303), and what Bazin calls the “essence” of reality (312). The implication of this intersection between Metz and Kracauer is that even though the imaginary signifiers on screen present us with fantastic monsters, a non-realist film can still reflect a psychological real that is real enough to incite a genuine emotional response in audiences thus proving the continued presence and privileging of the realist tendency regardless of a film’s degree of fictionality.


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