Recently, an increasing number of researchers have tried to reveal the mode of exhibition during early cinema period, and shown that film exhibition was originally influenced from the prior theater practices and audiences experienced something beyond the screen. This kind of research is significant in the point that they demonstrate how film experiences are shaped by the environment of showing. However, they usually assume that there was a clear distinction between early cinema period and classical Hollywood cinema period, and based on this binary opposition of attractions versus narrative, they allot a diversity to the former and uniformity to the latter. Therefore, these researches tend to abstract various exhibition practices during classical Hollywood cinema period. In contrast to this current, this paper focuses on the mode of exhibition during the 1920’s in Japan and examines how the various experience was mediated through that mode.
Loudspeaker sounds, both announcements for army doctors and radio programs, are frequently inserted in Robert Altman’s film M*A*S*H (1970). Accompanied by close-up shots of a loudspeaker, these sounds are undoubtedly diegetic; that is, they can be heard by the characters. However, none of the characters react to them, and the announcer is never seen. These sounds are located in a domain that cannot be grasped by the binary opposition of the diegetic and the non-diegetic.
This paper considers that while the loudspeaker sounds are backgrounded within diegesis, they are simultaneously foregrounded outside of the diegesis to which the spectator belongs. This activity, the collecting sounds ignored by the characters and manipulating them for emphasis, is due to the “cinematic narrator.”
This cinematic narrator’s activity is mimicked by the protagonists; they eavesdrop on and broadcast a sexual act of Houlihan and Burns. By sharing narrative authority with the cinematic narrator, they create and narrate an episode, which retells Houlihan as “Hot Lips.” This paper demonstrates that Hot Lips’ story, narrated by the protagonists, merges into the whole story of the cinematic narrator. Thus, two different narrative levels coexist without formal boundaries, as in Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of “hybrid utterance.”