How is “the truth told”? ; Plato’s republic, Penguin translation (1955)

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If we think about the way that we look at the truth technically then we can look into the terms “Mimesis and diegesis”.

Mimesis and diegesis, has been discussed in the study of narratology from way back in the times of the greek legend Plato, the philosopher and mathematician. Plato defined Mimesis and diegesis as:


In diegesis the narrator tells the story

whereas mimesis is the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the presentation of the self






A basic example of mimesis in film is direct speech (including drama, Republic394b–c) in the voices of individual characters in a story.

But firstly as a film maker it is worth noting that classical poetics class as a whole, cinema in general as an ‘epic form’ for its use of techniques to dramatise the truth.  These epic qualities stem from the existence of editing and camera techniques to cause an audience to jump between scenes. This therefore cannot be wholly the truth. Even in a seemingly realistic scene, where the camera stays within one place for the whole film, the camera chooses what we can see and is therefore , when we think about it, diegetic from the real world where we can choose where to look.

Within film then, a non-diegetic world or the creation a narrator inflicts on an audience could even be as simple as a film with titles, subtitles, and voice-over narration (with some exceptions).

Spongeybob is an extreme example of a Mimesis world, which shows rather than telling a so-called truth we all sort of want to belief whilst we are watching. Whilst the narrator encourages to feel as if we are, we are not actually under the sea.

Whilst cinema can never truly be classed by some as Diegetic. Pulp fiction is an example of how Diegesis sound can be used to bring an audience closer to the truth. Director Tarantino, requires that all of the sound within his film should be diegetic and therefore come from within the environment on the screen. I found this clip in particular interesting because the initial use of titles as suggested by some poetics as Non-Diegetic is overcome as we realise the character is listening to the music on his radio within the scene.

In making my final film, it is interesting to note the differences between diegesis and mimesis and the effect that it can have on an audience member. To be truly experimental, I may just combine the two.




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