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Croatian film


The concept of poetic discourse

The starting question is what type of film discourse does an abstract film, such as Milan Šamec’ Termites, belong to. The film is entirely composed of a play of black and grey spots on the screen. The three relatively analysed types – the narrative, the descriptive and the argumentative – obviously do not apply here. The only type, which is still present in historic discussion on film, and can definitely be applied to such a film, is the poetic discourse. The term poetic has a long history when applied to film. It emerged very early. In early texts, the artistic potentials of the film were referred to as poetic. However, with the emergence of avant-garde films, poetic films were described as a special, separate category. However, since film category is very often recognized by some structural procedures, by discourse strategies, the discussion on poetic film often included discussion on discourse procedures that are characteristic of that category. This essay discusses historic textual interpretations of the poetic. There is also an overview of the characteristics of the poetic discourse found in historic interpretations: for example, a move away from the narrative and descriptive patterns of the dominant film; editing rhythmization; fragmentation and decontextualization of the presented and of the material itself; different stylizations at all levels; implications of the so called associativity which often appears as an alternative term to the poetic discourse. As procedures in film are typically functional, related to a purpose (or a set of purposes), an overview of typical purposes related to poetic discourse, and which are to be achieved by way of the described procedures, is presented. The most widespread goal of the poetic discourse is the expression, arousing and development of sensibility, both the emotional one – that is, the mood, emotional conditions – and the sensory and sensual sensibility which by rule follows and supports specific moods. This does not give a complete explanation of poetic discourse but it gives some guidelines for further research of its concrete variants.

Hrvoje Turković

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