Mimesis shows rather than tells, by means of action that is enacted. Diegesis, however, is the telling of the story by a narrator. The narrator may speak as a particular character or may be the invisible narrator or even the all-knowing narrator who speaks from above in the form of commenting on the action or the characters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diegesis :

When reporting or narrating, "the poet is speaking in his own person; he never leads us to suppose that he is any one else"; when imitating, the poet produces an "assimilation of himself to another, either by the use of voice or gesture". [ Poetics ]

Though they conceive of mimesis in quite different ways, its relation with diegesis is identical in Plato's and Aristotle's formulations; one represents, the other reports; one embodies, the other narrates; one transforms, the other indicates; one knows only a continuous present, the other looks back on a past.

... The 'epos' relates stories by telling them through narration, while drama enacts stories through direct embodiment. When we come to a modern consideration of the cinema, it may appear that the medium is a straight-forward example of mimetic storytelling--but it is not. In terms of classical poetics, the cinema is an epic form that utilizes dramatic elements; this is determined by the technologies of the camera and editing. Even in a spatially and temporally continuous scene (mimicking the theatrical situation, as it were), the camera chooses where to look for us. In a similar way, editing causes us to jump from one place (and time sometimes) to another, whether it be somewhere else in the room, or across town. This jump is a form of narration; it is as if a narrator whispers to us: "meanwhile, on the other side of the forest". It is for this reason that the 'story-world' in cinema is referred to as 'diegetic'; elements that belong to the film's narrative world are diegetic elements. This is why, in the cinema, we may refer to the film's diegetic world.

"Diegetic," in the cinema, typically refers to the internal world created by the story that the characters themselves experience and encounter: the narrative "space" that includes all the parts of the story, both those that are and those that are not actually shown on the screen (such as events that have led up to the present action; people who are being talked about; or events that are presumed to have happened elsewhere).

Thus, elements of a film can be "diegetic" or "non-diegetic." These terms are most commonly used in reference to sound in a film, but can apply to other elements. For example, an insert shot that depicts something that is neither taking place in the world of the film, nor is seen, imagined, or thought by a character, is a non-diegetic insert. Titles, subtitles, and voice-over narration (with some exceptions) are also non-diegetic.


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Genre -- Formula, this is where the border between movies and film lies...

Part Three: Types of Films

Chapter Four - Film Genres
Understanding Genre
Box: A Contemporary Genre: The Crime Thriller
Three Genres

Chapter Five - Documentary, Experimental, and Animated Films
Experimental Film
The Animated Film

Part Four: Film Style


Chapter Six - The Shot: Mise-en-Scene
What Is Mise-en-Scene?
The Film Actor's Tool Kit
The Power of Mise-en-Scene
Aspects of Mise-en-Scene
Box: The Film Actor's Tool Kit
Putting It All Together: Mise-en-Scene in Space and Time
Narrative Function of Mise-en-Scene: Our Hospitality

Chapter Seven - The Shot: Cinematography
The Photographic Image
Box: From Monsters to the Mundane: Computer-Generated Imagery in The Lord of the Rings
Duration of the Image: The Long Take

Chapter Eight - The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing
What Editing Is
Dimensions of Film Editing
Continuity Editing
Box: Intensified Continuity: L.A. Confidential and Contemporary Editing
Alternatives to Continuity Editing

Chapter Nine - Sound in the Cinema
The Powers of Sound
Fundamentals of Film Sound
Dimensions of Film Sound
Box: Rhythm on Two Tracks: A Dance of Death in The Last of the Mohicans
Functions of Film Sound: A Man Escaped

Chapter Ten - Style as a Formal System
The Concept of Style
Analyzing Film Style
Style in Citizen Kane
Style in Gap-Toothed Women
Style in The River
Style in Ballet Mecanique
Style in A Movie

... next : part 2, lesson 2

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