Learning from Failures (Narration Edition)

As I've mentioned before, I think there's a pedagogical value - for our students and for ourselves - in approaching failures as opportunities to learn. This holds true whether we think they're genuine failures or merely seeming failures. For instance, and I know some people will disagree with this assessment, I find Cruising to be a screenwriting and directing failure because it hinges on a character epiphany it is only fitfully able to show, but this inability reveals how both classical and art films normally handle character epiphany.

Or, there's this user-board reaction to a giallo film, Case of the Bloody Iris:
"The Case Of The Bloody Iris" is a movie filled with so many stupid and cheesy moments that it's impossible to list them all here (just an example: a bloody corpse is discovered in the elevator of a high-rise apartment building while the sun is still up; after several hours, the night has fallen, a woman tries to get into the elevator, and the corpse is still there, lying at the exact same spot - apparently none of the tenants cared enough to call the police).
Thing is, in the film it's not that the body remains in the elevator for several hours, but that the narration flashes back or maybe gives a psychological insert. For those of trained to read art cinema techniques, this seems obvious, but the review suggests it's not obvious at all. This would corroborate David Bordwell's point, and the cognitivists', that narrational decoding involves learned schema on the spectator's part. At the same time, I'm curious why these schema should be apprehendable to some and not to others.


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