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Julie Cavaliere

by Riccardo Triolo
  • tuesday, 6 september 2022

Fairy tales are narrations par excellence – we all know that. Every fairy tale adaptations, including Disney’s cartoons and live-action films, confronts not only tradition, but also the narrational devices underlying each story. Nyssa has been directed by American filmmaker, producer, and actress Julie Cavaliere, and is part of a series dedicated to Virtual Reality adaptations of old fairy tales, in this instance, The story of the youth who went forth to learn what fear was by the Brothers Grimm. Once we don the visor, we find ourselves beyond the threshold (a cornerstone of fairy tales) and we participate in adventures together with young Nyssa, who cannot wait to fight some dark invasion (fear itself) and defeat it. How to translate into VR the workings of a fairy tale? What are its aesthetical underpinnings?
The threshold, to begin with. It is not marked anywhere, it does not appear as such. Crossing the threshold coincides with the act of wearing the visor: an act that is foreign to the narration, which leaves the story devoid of it being, in fact, a fairy tale. There’s also a disorienting inner conflict between points of view. Usually, narration takes place externally, a narrating voice indeed. Here, there is no such thing. The narrating ‘voice’ is our point of view, our spying eye. This happens because immersive narration puts us in an undetermined time and space where the events take place – it couldn’t work any other way. We do feel a bit disoriented: invisible witnesses, voyeurs of a story we cannot participate in. The director occasionally lifts us up and allows us into a point of view that is closer to the centre of the action. These movements give us a different status, more aerial and incorporeal. There is no linguistic praxis that can define meaningfully this aspect of the story, and exploit it for narration. We are sure that VR narrational techniques will improve, especially in consistency, and will become authentically expressive in their ability to render, in a new form, all the power a story can have.

by Julie Cavaliere
(USA, 15’)