Katherine Thomson-Jones and George Wilson

Katherine Thomson-Jones (left) and George Wilson (right) on cinematic narration.

Some films feature voice-over narration, but most fictional films appear to lack a narrator. And it seems that a narrative requires a narrator. Yet film, like literature, is widely regarded as a narrative art—a story-telling art. So who (if anyone) tells the story conveyed by a film? Relatedly: Perhaps when we engage a fictional film, we imagine that we see the people, places, and events that make up the film’s fictional world. Yet we do not seem to imagine ourselves to be present in the film’s fictional world. (If it’s raining on screen, we do not reach for our umbrellas.) How can we imagine that we see events without imagining that we are present in the same world in which those events occur? In this conversation, Thomson-Jones and Wilson discuss these and other puzzles as they explore the nature and role of narrativity in film.

Related works

by Thomson-Jones:
Aesthetics and Film (2008)
with Kathleen Stock: New Waves in Aesthetics (2008)

by Wilson:
Seeing Fictions in Film: The Epistemology of Movies (2012)
Narration in Light: Studies in Cinematic Point of View (1986)