The Destabilization of the Fabula
There is a wide consensus among filmmakers and theorists that one of the most important phenomena in the postwar period is the spread of stories fusing human acts, represented in narratives, with the representation of mental processes, or of stories of human acts that develop into tales about pure mental processes. This process, especially in French film criticism from Alexandre Astruc to Gilles Deleuze, is often considered as the main trend of modern cinema's development. Even if, following the arguments developed in previous chapters, it is not considered the “essence” of cinema, the importance of this phenomenon cannot be overestimated. This is how cinema became widely accepted as a “serious” art, and which helped reinforce art-film institutions from the mid-fifties onwards and make widespread the art-film industry and distribution circuits. What is more, this is what turned classical narrative patterns into more flexible structures as far as time and space continuity is concerned, which explains the popularity of films by David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino in the eighties and nineties with their highly sophisticated narrative procedures. Although the principles of modern film narration did not replace classical principles, modernist principles became a sort of parallel norm considerably influencing the development of audio-visual culture even after the decline of modernism as a mainstream artistic practice.
Subjectivity in modern narrative means that conventional narrative patterns, which created solid interpretative schemes, dissolve before such narrative maneuvers, which weaken the referential relationship between the world represented in the story and the empirical world. Formal techniques and devices convey the meanings that refer to an abstract system of reference rather than to the “real world.” Modern reflexivity is a consequence and a spe-