Questions of Authorship

Some Comments on David Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film

in Projections
Paisley Livingston Lingnan University

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These comments concern Bordwell’s explicit and implicit claims about cinematic authorship in his 1985 Narration in the Fiction Film. Distinctions are drawn between causal and attributionist conceptions of authorship, and between actualist and fictionalist views about the spectator’s attitude toward authorship. A key question concerns the autonomy or independence of a viewer’s competent uptake of story and narration, as opposed to its dependence on knowledge of authorship or authorial design. The example of cinematic quotation in Resnais’s Mon oncle d’Amérique is used to illustrate the pertinence of the latter option.

Contributor Notes

Paisley Livingston is professor of philosophy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has published books and papers on a range of topics in aesthetics, film, and literature. His current research project concerns the aesthetics of Bernard Bolzano.

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The Journal for Movies and Mind

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