Posts Tagged ‘Kristin Thompson’

All About Lily Chou-Chou – An Analysis Of Excess In Form

Posted 04 Oct 2010 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Corey Birkhofer

All About Lily Chou-Chou, Japan, 2001

Written and Directed by Shunji Iwai

Hayato Ichihara listening to lily“Excessive elements do not form relationships, beyond those of coexistence.”

“Presumably, the only way excess can fail to affect meaning is if the viewer does not notice it.”

– Kristin Thompson

In her article, “The Concept of Cinematic Excess,” Kristin Thompson forms a compelling argument towards an analysis of film that looks beyond arbitrary narrative devices. As the title of her article implies, Thompson employs the work of two separate theorists (Stephen Heath and Roland Barthes, respectively) to form her argument around a concept known as excess. In analyzing a film like All About Lily Chou-Chou, a concept such as excess bears much weight in bringing to attention the formative elements that make a film such as this oppositional. Furthermore, in analyzing a film like Lily Chou-Chou, to avoid analysis of its formative structures (particularly its use of color) and focus full attention on its narrative devices is to miss the very aspect of why this film is oppositional.

Thus, the following explication seeks to coincide with Thompson’s line of thought that “once the narrative is recognized as arbitrary rather than logical, the viewer is free to ask why individual events within its structures are the way they are.” In short, in order to analyze Lily Chou-Chou and discover why it is oppositional, the analysis of narrative devices must be placed behind formative elements. Therefore, the following analysis will argue that through excess rising from its form (specifically the use of color), All About Lily Chou-Chou draws attention to the very fact that it is a film, that it is a structure of cause and effect that we as spectators either give ourselves up to willingly, or strive to attentively recognize its formative structure(s). However, before analysis can be achieved, it is important to explicate exactly why narrative analysis is arbitrary. Furthermore, it is important to establish a strong definition of excess. In juxtaposing explanation and definition of these previous aspects alongside specific sequences from the film, the following analysis can successfully make its argument that All About Lily Chou-Chou is indeed an oppositional film, with a knowledge-effect that emerges from its formal structure. Read More