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Network films and complex causality

Poulaki, M (2014) Network films and complex causality Screen (Oxford), 55 (3). pp. 379-395.

2014 Poulaki Network Films and complex causality.pdf
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This article addresses the issue of causality in multi-character films that have been characterized as complex, and more particularly, network narratives. In these films, causality, in the classical sense of a logical connection between the depicted events, appears to be rather loose, as certain film theorists have argued. Using the film Burn After Reading (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2008) as the primary point of reference, and adopting a framework of analysis derived from complex systems theory and network theory instead of film narratology, I suggest that it is possible to gain insight into the particular characteristics of the loose causality of complex films, and to move towards a positive rather than negative definition of it. I will argue that an emergent type of causality is at play in network films, which follow the organizational laws of complex systems, rather than those of narrative organization.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Arts
Authors :
Date : 1 September 2014
Identification Number : 10.1093/screen/hju020
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an author-produced PDF of an article published in Screen. The version of record Poulaki (2014) Network films and complex causality, Screen, 55 (3), pp. 379-395 is available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 05 Feb 2015 09:58
Last Modified : 01 Oct 2016 01:08

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