Non-narrative film is an aesthetic of film that does not narrate, or relate "an event, whether real or imaginary". The aesthetic strives to be nonrepresentational; "This is to say one would not recognize anything in the image and that temporal, sequential, or cause-and-effect relations could not be perceived between the shots or the elements of the image." Narrative film is the dominant aesthetic, though non-narrative film is not fully distinct from that aesthetic. While the non-narrative film avoids "certain traits" of the narrative film, it "still retains a number of narrative characteristics". Narrative film also occasionally uses "visual materials that are not representational".
According to The Film Experience, non-narrative film is distinct from nonfiction film, though both forms may overlap in documentary films. The book writes, "A non-narrative film may be entirely or partly fictional; conversely, a nonfiction film can be constructed as a narrative."
- Aumont, Jacques; Bergala, Alain; Marie, Michel; Vernet, Marc (1992). Aesthetics of Film. Texas Film and Media Studies. University of Texas Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-292-70437-4.
- Corrigan, Timothy; White, Patricia (2012). The Film Experience: An Introduction. Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-312-68170-8.
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