What is flashback in literature, in movies?

The question of what flashback is is important for understanding many key points in fiction and cinema. These small or, on the contrary, volumetric inserts about the past of heroes allow us to understand a lot in their characters, behavior and destinies. Often the author or director transfers a huge semantic load to these scenes, increasing the effectiveness of the episode with it.

Disclosure of the psychology of heroes

Understanding what flashback will help readers better understand the author's idea. Russian writers quite often resorted to a similar technique for the most complete disclosure of the character. It should be noted here that the Russian fiction was distinguished by careful psychological elaboration of the characters, so the references to their past had a tremendous meaning. Flashback in literature, therefore, was the link between the main action and the inner world of the characters.

what is flashback

For example, in the novel F.Dostoevsky's Idiot has a number of key scenes in which the main character, Prince Myshkin, recounts scenes from his life. He describes his life in Switzerland, when he was still subject to frequent episodes of epilepsy, and these small sketches from the very beginning show the reader the psychological state of the hero. In another famous novel by the writer, “Crime and Punishment,” there is a very interesting flashback. In art, this technique allows you to reveal the behavior and thoughts of the hero. In this novel, Raskolnikov sees a scene from his past in a dream, and this scene, in which he again feels like a child, shows this hero to the reader from the inside.

In the form of dreams

In the work "Oblomov" there is probably the most famous flashback in the domestic literature. The main character sees his native village in a dream, and also observes himself as a child, and these several scenes fully reveal the character from the new side.

flashback in literature

Thanks to this dream, the reader begins to understand Oblomov's behavior, seemingly strange at first glance, his insular lifestyle, excessive gullibility, gentleness, and even naivety.So, in this example, students should be explained what flashback in prose is.

In the form of a story of heroes

There are very well-known references to the past in the dramas of A. Ostrovsky, which are presented in the form of stories of heroines about their former life. One of the key moments in the play “The Thunderstorm” is Katerina’s story about her life before marriage. In this case, the heroine herself tells about her fate, and therefore her explanation sounds particularly dramatic.

When considering what flashback is, it must be remembered that this method is used in prose by the author in those cases when it is necessary to acquaint the reader more closely with the character. Sometimes it is present at the beginning of the work, and sometimes in the middle for greater effect. In the play “The Bridelessness” Larisa tells Karandyshev the story of her acquaintance with Paratov, and this explanation is, in fact, the first presentation of the girl to the reader.

Flashback as a fragment from the heroes' past life

This form allows you to show not only the character of the characters, but also the facts of their biography in more detail than in the stories. This technique is used by the writer B.Vasiliev in his famous story "And the Dawns Here Are Quiet". In the work he tells in detail the important facts from the lives of his heroines. These scenes are not directly related to the story, however, allow to understand the actions of girls, their heroism. The same principle is used in the film of the same name, which is still popular with viewers.

Background Flashbacks

Not always scenes from the past belong to the main characters. Sometimes the writer resorts to this technique in relation to the heroes of the second and even the third plan. With his skillful use, the author achieves an even greater effect. For example, in the famous novel by A. Dumas "The Count of Monte Cristo" there is a fascinating and very dramatic story of the managing director about his fate. This description was obtained from a famous novelist so strong that it became one of the links in the plot of the work. Also in the novel there is a lengthy story of one of the characters about the famous Vamp rogue. This passage turned out so colorful that it set the tone for the subsequent parts of the work.

In the cinema

An episode from the past in films performs the same function as in prose. However, due to the specifics of cinema, the possibilities of directors are much wider.Sometimes they present scenes in such a way that it is difficult to determine which scenes belong to the present action and which ones belong to the past.

flashback in art

For example, in the “Mirror” tape by A. Tarkovsky, the whole life of the main character is shown through frozen images from his childhood memory, which gives the picture a deep psychological insight. Sometimes flashback in movies allows you to uncover intrigue. In this case, it is presented in the form of an explanation of the hero of the incident. For example, each episode of the famous series about E. Poirot ends with his detailed analysis of the course of the crime, which is presented on the screens in the form of a flashback.

episode from the past [

Sometimes directors resort to a very effective way and the whole movie is made a flashback. For example, J. Cameron’s cult ribbon Titanic is, in fact, the memory of an aged heroine about the three days of sailing of this ship and its crash.

flashback in movies

Often the first part of the film is a flashback: the picture begins with a climax, then the action stops, and in order to maintain the intrigue and at the same time reveal the events of the past, the director retreats, then, towards the end, returns to the main action.The story in such cases turns out to be somewhat torn, but with a skillful combination of flashbacks and the main plot, the tape turns out to be very spectacular and at the same time dramatic. A vivid example of this is the well-known adaptation of the story of A. Chekhov, which is called “Bad Good Man.” The director very skillfully anticipated the scene of a duel between two heroes with a detailed history of their conflict.

So, scenes from the past, both in literature and in cinema, allow us to better understand the characteristics of the characters, as well as understand the plot of the story.

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