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Real to ReelA New Approach to Understanding Realism in Film and TV Fiction$
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Martin Sohn-Rethel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993071768

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993071768.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
(p.iii) Real to Reel
Author(s):

Martin Sohn-Rethel

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780993071768.003.0001

This introductory chapter defines the concept of realism and outlines a set of seven codes of realism. The enquiry into realism is so relevant because the codes connect texts to all the key ways in which the texts can be seen to work for their makers and for their audiences. The disciplines of Media and Film Studies have systematised these ways of working into four established key concept areas: the forms of texts and their conventions, such as genre and narrative; institutions; audiences; and representations/messages and values/ideology. Fundamentally, to ask about truth and realism in a given text is to key in to what keeps us watching and makes us rate it highly or not. In so doing, it will also put these key concepts to work on the text, bringing both text and concepts into new light. The seven codes of realism include the code of surface realism; the code of social or documentary realism; the genre code; the narrative code; the code of psychology and character motivation; the code of discursive or ideological truth; and the 'counter-realism' code of institutional constraint.

Keywords:   realism, truth, surface realism, social realism, documentary realism, genre realism, narrative realism, character motivation, ideological truth, counter-realism

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