Narrative structures for the European identity crisis: Antiplot in Ulysses’ Gaze, A Talking Picture and Our Music
Narrative structure
European identity crisis
Issue Date: 
María Noguera & Miguel Muñoz-Garnica (2023) Narrative Structures for the European Identity Crisis: Antiplot in Ulysses’ Gaze, A Talking Picture and Our Music, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, DOI: 10.1080/10509208.2023.2218266
This article studies three European films by renowned authors: Ulysses’ Gaze (Theo Angelopoulos, 1995), A Talking Picture (Manoel de Oliveira, 2003), and Our Music (Jean-Luc Godard, 2004). They share a vision of Europe in a state of identity crisis caused by its recent past of war and brutality. They show a gap between an uncertain present and a past rich in culture and mythology. This breach forces filmmakers to push the boundaries of plot linearity, favouring strategies of opposition and superimposition of temporal and reality layers, in a narrative form that McKee named antiplot. This notion guides the analysis of the three films. We consider that the break with the Aristotelian narrative canon implies the use of antiplots as a logical consequence of a cultural identity crisis. In Ulysses’ Gaze, the journey of the protagonist merges with several layers of time, memory, and History, which, through their juxtaposition, manage to create a cohesive story. In A Talking Picture, a sea voyage runs in parallel to the reconstruction of the European past glories, to the extent that the secondary storyline determines the meaning of the former. Finally, Our Music emulates the tripartite division of Dante’s Divine Comedy to explore, through an apparent separation of its parts, the truncated dialogue with the foundational values of Europe.

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