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Mimodiegetic and Volodiegetic Levels of Diegesis, Together with Variable Frame Rates, as Tools to Define a Tentative Early Film Language

  • Christoffer Markholm
Publishing year: 2017
Language: English
Document type: Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


This thesis focuses on the era of early film, with the aim to address an almost forgotten film
language. Three aspects have been taken into account—variable frame rates, suppressed sound
and hearing, and projection speeds—to analyze several examples of film to ascertain the
techniques used by early filmmakers. I have also applied my findings of the techniques of
yesteryear to contemporary films that have tried to imitate the early era production methods, in
order to present the possibilities and difficulties in reproducing and utilizing the “old” language.

The thesis also examines what separated the early era from the modern era, thus identifying
future avenues of research. In so doing, I have introduced two novel diegetic terms, namely
mimodiegetic and volodiegetic, with the former referring to sound imitating the visuals and the
latter relating to a volatile sound rising from the image. Neither of the terms represents a
technique, or, for that matter, are restricted to the early era—both rather provide a means to
define a specific technique. Finally, based on my findings, I argue that the early film language
is problematic to utilize fully today but that it is, at the same time, not confined to the early era.


  • Languages and Literatures
  • Cultural Sciences
  • Arts and Architecture
  • silent era
  • diegesis
  • frame rate
  • frames per second
  • early film
  • intertitles
  • projection
  • Girl Shy
  • The Movies
  • Fiddlesticks
  • One Week
  • Neighbors
  • Easy Street
  • Ask Father
  • The Artist
  • La Antena
  • Dr. Plonk


  • Erik Hedling (Professor)