- JunCture : 超域的日本文化研究 (ISSN:18844766)
- vol.10, pp.142-157, 2019-03-25
This study examines the features of voiceover, a filmic technique that has been widely used in melodrama films since the late 1930s. One function of voiceover, which was developed alongside the talkies in the late 1930s, was conceptualized by the term “monologue” and was used to represent characters’ inner voices, as well as the voice through which one character expresses their subjective view of another character’s internality. In this study, I analyze the dynamics of melodramatic modes of voiceover prevalent in the shinpa-geki style of Japanese films in the 1930s. I will focus on Naruse Mikio’s 1937 film Nadare, which depicts the lives of the Japanese upper class during that period. My analysis will illustrate the ways in which monologue voiceover allowed an ever-increasing number of filmmakers to create a kind of filmic “diversity,” where monologues functioned to express the complex inner voices of a variety of characters. This voiceover technique, widely adopted in melodrama films made after 1935, helped to dramatize the standard shinpa-geki themes of feudalistic thought or patriarchy, while creating melodramatic modes of subjective bipolarity and time tension. Investigating these features will demonstrate how voiceover served as a typical means for generating melodramatic modes of “conflict” within melodrama films during the 1930s.