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Multiperspective storytelling in cinema
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 10:27 authored by Seung-Je Koh
This thesis focuses on conceptualizing cinematic storytelling beyond the highly influential binary perspective of Joseph Campbell's concept of monomyth - the central pattern of which is often referred to as the hero's journey. I will analyze a number of films from Japanese cinema to investigate an alternative perspective, which I have named multiperspective. The term multiperspective encompasses films that give equal voice to multiple protagonists and/or to multiple narrative in cinema. Multiperspective storytelling aligns with Martha C. Nussbaum's philosophy of pluralism and human capabilities as antidotes to intolerable discrimination and insupportable inequality. The films of Japanese directors Juzo Itami and Hayao Miyazaki challenge the hero-villain binary. Their innovative use of character and genre do not in any way lessen their impact as popular texts. Itami's films are mostly satires and so is Miyazaki's arguably most famous film, Spirited Away (2001). Satire is an ideal genre to explore multiperspective storytelling because it allows for freedom that does not rely on binaries to achieve its credibility. The thesis includes a creative practice component in the form of a short film script, Shuttlecock, which applies my theoretical findings on multiperspective. Shorts usually rely on clear characterizations and definitive storylines, thus Shuttlecock, as a creative work, will also demonstrate that writing a short with character complexity and ambiguity, and without ignoring the need for a definitive timeline, can be achieved through a deep grounding in multiperspective storytelling.