The End by Richard John Neupert Book Summary:
Given the importance that spectators grant to the final moments of a motion picture, it is surprising to find so little written on how films end and how audiences interpret those closing moments. This study investigates endings in film and the lively role they play in how and why viewers make sense of movies. Relying upon contemporary literary criticism and film theory, the author analyses narrative strategies in films ranging from the classical Hollywood motion picture to the more modern European art cinema. To assist readers in understanding the various functions of endings, the films are divided into four critical categories: the "Closed Text" film, typical of classical works; the "Open Story" films; the "Open Discourse" film; and the "Open Text" film which struggles to defy story resolution. Detailed textual analysis of sample films reveal how all of the devices of filmic narration - from "mise-en-scene" to soundtracks - direct a viewer's perception, comprehension and interpretation of closure in films. Among the sample films that are featured as test cases for studying endings are "The Quiet Man" (Ford, 1950), "The 400 Blows" (Truffaut, 1959), "Weekend" (Godard, 1967), "Tout va bien" (Godard, 1972), and "Earth" (Dovzhenko, 1930). To round out his informative study of endings in films, Neupert also examines a host of diverse titles, including "Do the Right Thing" (Lee, 1989), "Open City" (Rossellini, 1945) and "The Graduate" (Nichols, 1967).