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Parent categories: meta - film
Peeping Tom (1960) - Michael Powell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
An excellent example of a meta-film on many levels, celebrating the voyeuristic nature of the film experience. [Jan 2006]
Related: fourth wall - self-referential - metafiction - postmodern cinema - self-consciousness
Titles: Funny Games (1997)
There is an Italian movie in which the characters go to a cinema to see a western movie and one of the cowboys shoots a member of the audience, leaving a little hole in the screen. Can anyone remember the name of this movie?
A metafilm or metamovie is a self-referential film.
If presentational theatre does not let the audience forget they are viewing a play, and metafiction does not let the readers forget they are reading a book, metafilm does not let the audience forget that they are watching a film.
Metafilm is a kind of film that self-consciously addresses the devices of film.
If metafiction is primarily associated with postmodern literature, might it be justified to say that metafilm is associated with postmodern cinema. [Dec 2005]
Cinema in cinemaCinema Paradiso (1988), Day For Night (1973) , F/X (1986), Good Morning, Babylon (1987), Living In Oblivion (1995), The Player (1992) , Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Singin' In the Rain (1952), Stardust Memories (1980), Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Film in television
Television: Being There (1979) Broadcast News (1987) Ed TV (1999), A Face In the Crowd (1957), Medium Cool (1969), Network (1976), Pleasantville (1998), Quiz Show (1994), To Die For (1995), The Truman Show (1998), Deathwatch aka Mort en direct, La (1980) - Bertrand Tavernier, Secret Cinema (1968) - Paul Bartel
Fourth wall and film [...]
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall#Film [Dec 2004]
- One of the first movies to tell a fictional story, The Great Train Robbery (1903), ends with a famous shot of a cowboy firing a gun directly at the camera. Legend says that during initial screenings of the film, this scene panicked many members of the studio audience. [There is an Italian movie in which the characters go to a cinema to see a western movie and one of the cowboys shoots a member of the audience, leaving a little hole in the screen]
- Some of the first popularized breaking of the fourth wall in cinema was courtesy of Groucho Marx, of the Marx Brothers in films such as the 1929 film The Cocoanuts and the 1930 film Animal Crackers.
- In the mockumentary Man Bites Dog the characters alternate between talking to the audience of the documentary they are producing and the audience watching the film.
- In Annie Hall Woody Allen breaks the wall by asking the audience direct questions. He has been often quoted in interviews as portraying this as homage to Groucho Marx.
- In many animated cartoons, the cartoon characters will suddenly start talking directly to the audience, or encountering a break or tear in the film that the cartoon is being projected upon, or many other ways to remind the audience that they are watching an animated cartoon. Animation director Tex Avery was a pioneer of breaking the fourth wall, and his cartoons often stated, "In a cartoon, you can do anything!"
- Chuck Jones's Daffy Duck cartoon, Duck Amuck is an elaborate and frantic deconstruction of the fourth wall.
- In Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson's character Norma Desmond gestures at the camera in her closing scene and refers to "all those people sitting out there in the dark."
- In Tom Jones, various characters break off in the middle of a scene to look into the camera and address the audience.
- In Medium Cool, a gas grenade goes off very close to the camera, and a shout is heard: "Look out, Haskell, it's real!" This is a reference to the film's director/cameraman, Haskell Wexler. In the film's last shot, the camera pans and zooms in—on Wexler, pointing his camera at the camera.
- In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond (played by George Lazenby) defeats several bad guys in the teaser who are attacking his future wife. The girl then runs off. Lazenby says, "This never happened to the other fellow," referencing former James Bond actor Sean Connery. This is the only time in the Bond series this happens.
- In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris guides the audience throughout the movie.
- In High Fidelity, Rob Gordon (John Cusack) discusses his thoughts concerning the events of the story directly with the audience. At one point he is talking to the camera while in bed with a sleeping woman; he whispers and checks to see if his talking is waking her up.
- Spaceballs features several examples. In one scene, the characters watch a video of Spaceballs, fast-forwarding it to determine what they should do next. It's explained that new "instant cassette" technology allows people to see a film before it's actually finished filming. Confusion ensues when the characters briefly stop fast fowarding and reach the "present"; the characters watching the video see themselves watching a video seeing themselves watching a video...to infinity. Dark Helmet then turns to face the camera and asks the audience: "Everbody got that?". In the climatic fight scene, Dark Helmet accidentally kills a cameraman with his lightsaber.
- In Blazing Saddles various characters look into the camera to deliver lines. During the climactic fight scene between the townspeople and the bandits, the camera pulls back to show that the town is in fact a set on the Warner studio backlot. The fight spills over into another soundstage and the commissary. The villain flees the scene and attempts to hide in a theater showing Blazing Saddles until the movie shows the hero outside of the theater. The two principal characters then enter the theater to watch the end of the movie, which consists of themselves dismounting their horses and riding into the sunset in a limousine.
- The Wayne's World movies feature occasional asides by main characters, where the camera pans or moves away from the scene to focus on the actor. At one point, the owner of Stan Mikita's Donuts begins ranting about—killing a man who romantically rejected him, and the main characters yell at the camera man to focus back on them. There are other examples including an "Oscar Clip" scene where Wayne splashes water in his eyes to simulate crying, Garth launching backwards every time he sees someone (twice), and a debate over which movie ending is the best.
- Parts of the film Fight Club are centred around breaking the fourth wall, and the narrator is frequently seen addressing the audience directly, or insinuating our presence. For example, the scene in which the Narrator says "Let me tell you a little bit about Tyler Durden" and then proceeds to address the camera directly. Tyler also addresses the audience during this section. Furthermore, the entire concept of the scene appears to be placing the film within its own context - i.e. as a film, where the narrator describes the reel changing process: "If you look for it, you can see these little dots come into the upper right hand corner of the screen" (and Tyler points to the dots as they appear). Additionally, in the rest of the film, things referred to in this scene can also be seen (e.g. the single-frame splices of other images) - encouraging the audience to question the film's role within itself.
La Nuit américaine/Day for Night (1973) - François TruffautOften cited example of metafilm.
Sex is Comedy (2002) - Catherine Breillat
Sex is Comedy (2002) - Catherine Breillat
Writer-director Catherine Breillat's new film Sex Is Comedy (2002) bases its premise on the shooting of a sex scene from Breillat's last film A Ma Soeur!/Fat Girl (2001), and casts Anne Parillaud in the role of Jeanne, director of the film-within-the-film and a thinly disguised version of Breillat herself. It's as though she were compiling DVD extras for A Ma Soeur! and became so hooked on the "making-of" documentary that she turned it into a feature - similar to the way in which screenwriter Charlie Kaufman spun a whole new movie, Adaptation (2002), from the problem of how to write the follow-up to Being John Malkovich (1999). It's unclear, though, to what extent Sex Is Comedy asks to be viewed as an insider's account of the making of A Ma Soeur!, or a movie in its own right. -- Edward Lamberti, http://www.kamera.co.uk/reviews_extra/sex_is_comedy.php [Nov 2004]
C'est Arrivé Pres de Chez Vous/Man Bites Dog (1992) - Rémy Belvaux André Bonzel, ...
C'est Arrivé Pres de Chez Vous/Man Bites Dog (1992) - Rémy Belvaux André Bonzel, ... [Amazon.com]
C'est arrivé près de chez vous (Man Bites Dog) is a satirical 1992 Belgian French language black comedy mockumentary starring Benoît Poelvoorde. In the film, a pair of film-makers follow a serial killer recording his crimes (and thoughts and opinions) for a documentary they are producing, but find themselves getting caught up in the mayhem that ensues. The film is shot in black and white.
A literal English rendering of the title would be It Happened Near Your Place, but the film was released in North America as Man Bites Dog.
Tagline: A Killer Comedy --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Bites_Dog [Dec 2004]
Medium Cool (1969) - Haskell Wexler
Medium Cool (1969) - Haskell Wexler [Amazon.com]
In Medium Cool, a gas grenade goes off very close to the camera, and a shout is heard: "Look out, Haskell, it's real!". This is a reference to the film's director/camerman, Haskell Wexler. In the film's last shot, the camera pans and zooms in - on Wexler, pointing his camera at the camera. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall [May 2004]
Cinema Paradiso (1989) - Giuseppe Tornatore
Cinema Paradiso (1989) - Giuseppe Tornatore [FR] [DE] [UK]
[...] the priest has the power to censor films before they are viewed by his flock. This was not a complete exaggeration, the Cento Cattolico Cinematografo established in 1936 to censor films continued to classify films, according to the church's lights. --http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~media/CinePara.html [Dec 2004]
Six, five, four, the numbers wind down. And there, on the reel, are all the expurgated scenes from the movies of his childhood: All the censored kisses. All the censored passion. All the censored life. --http://www.pbs.org/newshour/essays/jan-june02/censor_1-30.html [Dec 2004]
La Mala educación/Bad education (2004) - Pedro Almodóvar [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Bad Education (La mala educación) is a 2004 film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar about two reunited childhood friends (and lovers) in the vein of an Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery. Sexual abuse by Catholic priests, transsexuality, drug abuse, and a film-within-a-film are also important themes and devices in the plot. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mala_educaci%F3n [Apr 2005]
see also: Pedro Almodóvar
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