When Cinema Borrows from Stage: Theatrical Artifice through Indexical Explicitness in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Dogville
Roberta Piazza has recently had an article published in a special issue of Social Semiotics. The paper is entitled When Cinema Borrows from Stage: Theatrical Artifice through Indexical Explicitness in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Dogville.
Roberta’s research focuses on discourse analysis, pragmatics, stylistics and sociolinguistics, with a particular emphasis on how this relates to (different) media and to discourse and to identity. Roberta's current paper examines how theatrical texts can ‘travel’ to the cinema medium.
"Framed within the debate on the different nature of theatrical and filmic communication, the study considers two avant-garde films by Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and von Trier, Dogville, as examples of texts that travel from one medium to another and show closeness to the theatre. This is revealed not solely through the artificiality and the enclosure of the setting and the mise-en-scène, but also at the level of the discourse understood as the ensemble of images, music, gestures, and dialogue. The two films exhibit an unnaturalness unusual in cinema, a medium in which the editing realises a seemingly realistic representation of characters and events. The discussion focuses on how such a sensation of artificial non-realism is achieved in the films. It is argued that it derives from the marked explicit relation between the various levels of communication in the two films, the verbal and the visual, as well as between the dialogue contributions by the different participants in the narrative, characters, and narrator. The construct adopted for the analysis is indexicality, which is interpreted in a broad sense and that, as is discussed, contributes to the “monstrative” dimension of the films in terms of the explicitness of the communication."
The paper can be viewed here.