Most people think of film narrative in fundamentally visual terms. But what if visuality is only one component of a larger epistemic framework for how film narrative “works”? In this book, Sheila J. Nayar argues just that, laying out the comprehensive terrain for what has already been described as a “controversial new theory of cinematic literacy.”
Proposing that orality and alphabetic literacy play a fundamental role in shaping visual storytelling, Nayar challenges the way we think about how film stories get shaped, as well as the notion of film as an autonomous mode of storytelling construction. Narrative and aesthetic principles of film, she demonstrates, are significantly impacted by ways of knowing that have—or, in some cases, that have not—emerged as a consequence of a cultural investment in reading, writing, and print.
Between close readings of Bollywood cinema and modernist art cinema in 1950s–1990s, as well as of the many cinemas in between—including Indian middle cinema and middle-class cinema—Cinematically Speaking casts a pioneering lens on what goes into shaping screen stories worldwide. It is a theoretical work certain to alter our understanding and future exploration of the narrative-film species.
Orality, Literacy, and an Epistemic Approach to Visual Narrative
Excavating the Oral Characteristics of Visual Narrative
Mapping the Literate Characteristics of Visual Narrative
Between the Oral and Literate Epistemes
The Future of the Orality—Literacy Paradigm, Cinematically Speaking
Appendix A: Reading Closely: The Orality of Baazigar
Appendix B: Titanic as American Orally Inflected Cinema Nonpareil