Focus Questions (what you should be able to answer by the end

)

- What does Verfremdungseffekt mean?
- In what ways are the characters symbols? - How does the casting work as a defamiliarising/distancing/V-effekt?

I’m Not There
Symbols and Alienation Effects

Symbolism
Basically, the film is just all symbols all the time. Everything always means something else in this film, which is why it’s great for us to analyse. We’ll focus today mainly on the different Dylans. So, what does each represent? e.g. Jude represents Dylan’s shift to electric music, but he also represents the attitude that art can’t impact on the world, i.e. no one’s going to be changed with a song.

Symbolism
Your turn: Woody represents... Billy represents... Robbie represents... Rimbaud represents... Jack represents... First, put the stage of Dylan’s career/biography being represented. Then try to suggest a more universal issue being represented by each character.

Strange Vocab...
Verfremdungseffekt

Basically, a fancy word for distancing effect or alienation effect.
The term comes from Bertolt Brecht, a stage director who was interested in finding ways of stopping the audience connecting with characters, so they wouldn’t become emotionally involved in the drama.

From Wikipedia...
Brecht wanted to "distance" or to "alienate" his audience from the characters and the action to render them observers who would not sympathize emotionally or empathize by identifying individually with the characters psychologically. Rather, he wanted the audience to understand intellectually the characters' dilemmas and the wrongdoing producing these dilemmas exposed in his dramatic plots. By being thus "distanced" emotionally from the characters and the action on stage, the audience could be able to reach an intellectual level of understanding (or intellectual empathy).

In practise...
Do this:

1. Put the actor’s name of each character down the page
2. Next to each name, write how similar they are made to look to Dylan 3. Then write next to each name, all of films you know that star that individual - some you’ll know, others you might not

In practise...
The Verfremdungseffekt of Celebrity This is an interesting one, and a little difficult to write about because it’s not technically tied to a technique. However, Haynes is often called a Brechtian, in that he is very interested in creating these distancing/alienation effects. One of the key ways he does this in the film is through casting. Not only are we literally distanced from Dylan because he keeps reinforcing that an essence of Dylan is absent, he keeps reminding us that even within each character there is a massive disconnection from Dylan. Gere doesn’t look anything like Dylan, and then the one that looks identical to him is infact the least identical to him because its a her not a him.

Focus Questions (what you should be able to answer by the end)

- What does Verfremdungseffekt mean?
- In what ways are the characters symbols? - How does the casting work as a defamiliarising/distancing/V-effekt?

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