Real to Reel

BookReal to Reel

Real to Reel

A New Approach to Understanding Realism in Film and TV Fiction



March 8th, 2016

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What happens when we watch feature films or television dramas? Many of our responses to moving-image fiction texts embody "realism" or "truth," but what are we responding to, exactly, and how is our notion of reality or truth to be understood? For film and media students and makers of moving-image fiction in new digital forms, the question of how to get a more objective, rigorous handle on realism has never been more important. In this accessible book, Martin Sohn-Rethel brings a lifetime of teaching film and media to bear on developing a new approach to analyzing the "realism" of the moving image: a set of seven "codes" that plot this tricky field of enquiry more systematically. In doing so, he considers a wide range of film and media texts chosen for their accessibility, including Do the Right Thing (1989), In the Name of the Father (1993), Erin Brockovich (2000), and District 9 (2009).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Realism in TV Drama30
2. Social (or documentary) realism in feature film52
3. Social realism continued: The special case of The Lives of Others70
4. Social realism continued: Some key re-inventions76
5. The genre code of realism: The recent development of the alien invasion movie106
6. The narrative code of realism: The case of the 'multi-strand epic'126
7. The code of psychology and character motivation148
8. The code of discursive or ideological truth190
Post-script: The 'counter-realism' code of institutional constraint224
Works Cited238