European Storytelling: Epic, open, diverse

Abstract by Christine Lang

In current screenplay guides, mainly 3-act structures and thus models of closed dramaturgy are discussed. Here, the focus is always on a main character and its actions. European cinema, however, is characterised by other, far more diverse dramaturgical traditions. Here one finds epic, analytical, open and experimental forms. In these, aesthetic means such as metaphorical imagery, the symbolic activation of dramatic situations, dialectical contrasting and variations play a role. Compared to a closed dramaturgy, this kind of storytelling requires a more active reception and invites viewers to interpret. But only at first sight do these movies seem more irregular or even unfinished than works of closed form; in the background, the laws of dramatic narration are at work, which means that their aesthetic openness is only made possible by parts of closed form. In the process, however, traditional dramaturgical procedures are varied, broken, fragmented and recombined. In this lecture, dramaturgical procedures and their modern adaptation will be presented and made comprehensible on the basis of various film examples of contemporary European cinema: In Le Passé (F/I 2013), Asghar Farhadi combines the classic family drama with analytical dramaturgy; in the epic drama Happy End, (F/D/AU 2017), Michael Haneke shifts the actual narration into the implicit through which a central theme is exemplified; in Titane (F 2021), Julia Ducournau combines different genres in a postmodern way. These films show how multifaceted and diverse modern dramaturgy can be.

> Deutsche Version