The Rule of Classical Narration

in 17th Athens Panorama of European Cinema

by Giannis Fragoulis

After having watched all the films in the competition of the 17th Panorama of the European Cinema in Athens, I’m in a position to say that quite frankly, there is not a certain tendency predominating this period of European cinema. It is dominated by the influence of some movies that could be characterized as “big”. We also certainly need to take into account the fact that a new perception of cinema has taken place in the last few years.

Classical narration seems to rule, giving us movies that can only be accepted by the audience. For example, L’Imbalsamatore or Fremder Freund that were shown in Athens. These two films are certainly good films, but they still remain under the huge shadow of the great classical films. They do not offer any new ideas in the art of making movies. There are fewer and fewer movies in which the narration puts humans at the centre. They are more interested in the structure and the collision of the characters than art, using internal dialogue which reminds us of the Scandinavian and German cinematic model. The same thing has happened in the theatre that has been developed in these countries, especially after World War II. A good example for this is Die Nacht singt Ihre Lieder .

Nevertheless, auteur has not ended. Czech, Hungarian and Russian movies can still attract audiences by their ability to symbolize time as well as space. They give new perspectives to narration; they make it more interesting. Champions , the FIPRESCI prizewinner, is a good example.

As and end, a moderate way of cinematography using new technologies (dv) shows up more often these days. But when the form (the way of making a film) is included in harmony into the narrating field in order to release new forms, then the result is a modern cinematographic way of watching our theme. Watching Freeze Frame movie we can check some of these merits. An other thing we need to point out is that comedy is missing from the cinematographic narration. Movies like Pas sur la bouche are welcome and they fill us with joy. Giannis Fragoulis © FIPRESCI 2004