Home » Christopher Guests social critique: The functions of ironic humor in film. by Virgil P Bakken
Christopher Guests social critique: The functions of ironic humor in film. Virgil P Bakken

Christopher Guests social critique: The functions of ironic humor in film.

Virgil P Bakken

Published
ISBN : 9780549520573
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230 pages
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This project combines critical theory and a neoformalist methodology to create an approach to the study of film called ironic interaction analysis. The goal of ironic interaction analysis here is to uncover the implicit meaning of irony found in theMoreThis project combines critical theory and a neoformalist methodology to create an approach to the study of film called ironic interaction analysis. The goal of ironic interaction analysis here is to uncover the implicit meaning of irony found in the films of Christopher Guest, including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. Hutcheons theory of irony and Burkes theories of dramatism and identification are combined to create a critical approach to the use of irony as social criticism and views the construction of this criticism as the interaction of interpretive communities. Bordwell and Thompsons neoformalist film analysis provides a method of researching Guests cinema as works of art by identifying the motivations, aesthetic devices and narrative structure in each film. Each of the films studied in this project were researched in a historical/critical fashion, focusing attention on context and subject matter so as to identify the object of Guests social criticism. This has been aided by applying semantic fields to discover the implicit or ironic meanings that operate throughout each film. Particular areas of research included the history and practices of documentary, direct cinema, and cinema vente as they relate to Guests faux documentary style, the role of community theater, the theory and practice of improvisational acting, the development of American folk music, and Oscar buzz surrounding the Academy Award nomination process. Bakhtins theories of carnival and polyphony and Kierkegaards theory of pure irony also contribute significantly to the critical understanding of irony as used in Guests films. Findings suggest that ironic interaction analysis effectively identifies the social critical use of irony in cinema and its interaction with the viewers process of taking meaning from the film.