A selected chapter from David Bordwell's book Narration in the Fiction Film (Madison 1985). Bordwell argues that parametric narration is not connected to any specific national film school, historical period or film genre. Rather it appears to lack historical specificity, that is typical for, for example, classic narration or narration found in art cinema. In parametric narration the film's stylistic system creates patterns distinct from the demands of the syuzhet. The style of a film can be shaped in such a way, that it appears to be as important as the structure of the storyline. Bordwell provides a detailed characteristic of various aspects of parametric narration, he refers to the theory of Russian formalists, structuralism and analogy with serial music. To present the principles of this kind of narration, the author presents an analysis of Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959). Bordwell points out that one of the advantages of the analysis of parametric form, is that it helps to reveal the formal causes of the aura of mystery and transcendence, which audiences often associate with Bresson's work.
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