A (Tall) Tale of Two Sisters: Integrating rhetorical and cognitive-pragmatic approaches to explore unreliable narration in film

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    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.