There is a sustained debate in the academy about the role of narratology in film studies.
This article forms part of this larger debate in exploring the application of the concept
of unreliable narration to films, specifically to Jee-woon Kim’s little-known but
exceptional film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). A dispute surrounding this narratological
device has centred on how readers or viewers determine that the narration deviates
from diegetic truth. Two major strands of narratology have given divergent answers
to this question: the rhetorical approach has been in favour of aligning diegetic truth
with an “implied author”, while the cognitive approach has called the implied author
into question, instead focusing on the viewer’s construction of the diegetic truth. This
paper investigates the possibility of integrating the two approaches in terms of the
viewer’s construction of ethical judgements and cued inferences, which would open
up a new avenue for considering this narrative device.