Nonlinearity and focalisation in Attila Janisch’s Másnap

TitleNonlinearity and focalisation in Attila Janisch’s Másnap
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCsönge, T
JournalFrontiers of Narrative Studies
Start Page96
Date Published07/2018
KeywordsAttila Janisch, continuityediting, focalization, nonlinearity, ocularization, perspectivation

The essay’s aim is to examine the relationship between perspective andnonlinear temporal structure in Attila Janisch’s 2004 film,Másnap, which isloosely based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’sLe Voyeur(1955). My analysis revolvesaround the understanding of two important narratological distinctions, thatbetween a nonlinear presentation of events and a paradoxical plot, and thatbetween narrative focalizalization and textual focalization. According to DavidBordwell, the most widespread definition of linearity is when the successiveevents of A, B and C are presented in the narrative in their chronological order.Any other form of their presentation results in a nonlinear narrative. ButMásnapis a special type of narrative, which highlights the limitation of such traditionaldichotomies, because a consistent order of events cannot be reconstructed. Manycritics tried to grasp the core of the film’s narrative by trying to put together theoriginal timeline of events, relying on false indicators of logic and coherence,while they failed to recognize the narrative’s real rhetorical purpose in preventinga consistent and unambiguous plot to be established. The narrative’s complexitylies in the fact that both assumptions–that it depicts asubjective experience oftimeanda storyworld with strange temporality–are necessary to explain the film’sunusual, fragmented structure and interpret its events. I point out how the filmrequires us to reinterpret the meanings attached to the familiar techniques ofcontinuity editing and how it converts the practices of the early Nouveau Roman,which marginalizes traditional plot-structures, the notion of character, and con-ventional descriptions of objects, to interact with a subjective vision governed bya fictional mind.


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