Seeing oneself speak: Speech and thought in first-person camera cinema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Cinema struggles with the representation of inner-speech and thought in a way that is less of a problem for literature. Film also destabilises the notion of the narrator, be they omniscient, unreliable or first-person. In this article I address the peculiar and highly unsuccessful cinematic innovation which we can call the ‘first-person camera’ or ‘first-person’ film. These are films in which the camera represents not just the point-of-view of a character but is meant to be understood as that character. Very few such films have been made, and I will concentrate on the way in which speech and thought are presented in Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1947) and Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947). I use Jacques Derrida’s critique of the idea of ‘hearing oneself speak’ and phenomenology’s dream of direct experience to explore the generally understood failure of such films and conclude by considering the implications of such a technique for a homunculus theory of mind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-121
JournalJOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • inner speech
  • inner thought
  • cinema
  • first person camera
  • point of view
  • subjectivity
  • Jacques Derrida


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