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The Auteur as Fool: Bakhtin, Barthes, and the Screen Performances of Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard

The Auteur as Fool: Bakhtin, Barthes, and the Screen Performances of Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard cecilia sayad any association between auteurs and fools in the cinema immediately brings to mind the clown-like figures played by Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jerry Lewis, and Woody Allen, all of whom incarnate similar characters across a vast array of films and in addition direct all or many of the pictures in which they perform. Common to these "fools" is their recurring features and a certain foreignness that posits them as outsiders. In the words of Bakhtin, who theorized about the fool in literature, this figure is endowed with the "right to be `other,'" "the right not to understand, the right to confuse" (159, 163), thus becoming the mask that the author wears in order to freely question the world, to denaturalize it. This, after all, is the nature of all comedy. But the fool's inherent marginality goes beyond this figure's subversive attitude, as I argue in this article. The fool's "misplacement" or inappropriateness can be traced back to its origins in the performing arts--to the intermittent quality of the fool's presence in some traditions in popular theater (its role limited to providing comic relief or commentary on the main action) or as the bridge between different numbers http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

The Auteur as Fool: Bakhtin, Barthes, and the Screen Performances of Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 63 (4) – Nov 18, 2011

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University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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Abstract

cecilia sayad any association between auteurs and fools in the cinema immediately brings to mind the clown-like figures played by Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jerry Lewis, and Woody Allen, all of whom incarnate similar characters across a vast array of films and in addition direct all or many of the pictures in which they perform. Common to these "fools" is their recurring features and a certain foreignness that posits them as outsiders. In the words of Bakhtin, who theorized about the fool in literature, this figure is endowed with the "right to be `other,'" "the right not to understand, the right to confuse" (159, 163), thus becoming the mask that the author wears in order to freely question the world, to denaturalize it. This, after all, is the nature of all comedy. But the fool's inherent marginality goes beyond this figure's subversive attitude, as I argue in this article. The fool's "misplacement" or inappropriateness can be traced back to its origins in the performing arts--to the intermittent quality of the fool's presence in some traditions in popular theater (its role limited to providing comic relief or commentary on the main action) or as the bridge between different numbers

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Nov 18, 2011

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