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Impossible Puzzle FilmsA Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema$
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Miklós Kiss and Steven Willemsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474406727

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406727.001.0001

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Impossible Puzzle Films: Between Art Cinema and (Post-)Classical Narration

Impossible Puzzle Films: Between Art Cinema and (Post-)Classical Narration

(p.140) Chapter 5 Impossible Puzzle Films: Between Art Cinema and (Post-)Classical Narration
Impossible Puzzle Films

Miklós Kiss

Steven Willemsen

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 5 discusses the formal make-up of impossible puzzle films, asking how they regulate viewer responses to their excessive complexities. This section addresses two specific questions: ‘How do impossible puzzle films cue certain sense-making and meaning-making operations over others?’ and ‘How do they keep viewers hooked on trying to solve their ultimately unsolvable puzzles?’. In line with these questions, part of the chapter is dedicated to a comparative perspective on the storytelling mode of impossible puzzle films and that of (modernist) art cinema. Art cinema, as a narrative mode, has used complex means similar to its contemporary counterpart, but, as the chapter demonstrates, has generally done so to different ends. The section argues that impossible puzzle films draw from both the tradition of (modernist) art-cinema and classical narration, but remain fundamentally rooted in the latter by carefully balancing their pervasive complexities with more classical elements of mainstream film storytelling.

Keywords:   Cognitive narratology, Puzzle film, Narrative theory, Narrative complexity, Classical Narration, Art cinema, Post-classical cinema, Historical poetics

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