I’ve recently joined the film club at our local cinema and this week we were treated to Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast from 1987. A wonderful Danish film which in its restraint, lack of melodrama and gentle humour reminded me of several modern classics from Denmark such as Italian for beginners. Have Danish films always been like this?
One aspect of the film jarred though: the use of an omniscient narrator. “Show don’t tell” I thought to myself. I thought of Vicky Cristina Barcelona where the narrator was even more obtrusive.
In films as in novels, there can be two kinds of narrators. A first person narrator: either the central character or someone else who appears in the film. Taxi Driver for example. This usually works rather well as one gets an insight into the character.
There’s also the omniscient, God-like narrator, as in Babette as in Vicky Cristina. Far less likely to work in my opinion.
The Big Lebowski offered an interesting variation on this. The disembodied voice we’ve been hearing throughout the film actually makes an appearance as a character of sorts at the end of the film.
AW Cinephiles, I’d like to hear about other films which » Continue Reading.