A Arlésienne ( invisible character or phantom character ) is a type of Personnage of fiction which is described or mentioned, but which does not appear in flesh and bone. This term is resulting from the Nouvelle of Alphonse Daudet Arlésienne .
N.T. Binh defines the concept of Arlésienne: Will be indicated under this name the decisive characters of an intrigue who, for a reason or another, do not appear with the screen .
Notoriety of the characterThis type of character is delimited by two extremes explains the case where the Narrateur of a film is also Arlésienne. Taking the example of marital Chains (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1949), it illustrates the particular case of the narrator, an young woman which one never sees the face. The voice of Celeste Holm gives life to the character but at any time, one does not see his face.
In Phon Range (Joel Schumacher, 2002), the embusqué killer is also Arlésienne. This character is essential with the course of the scenario but only its voice realizes it throughout film. He nevertheless is seen in the last image of film, where the hero painfully distinguishes a man (interpreted by Kiefer Sutherland, also the voice of the killer) who seems to be true the snipper.
The recourse to Arlésienne has several origins. It can be a question of a recurring gag or a Private joke, such as for example the Editor association in band-drawn the Pif the dog , always hidden behind volutes of smoke coming from its Pipe, Mister Dupuis in band-drawn Gaston Lagaffe as well as the woman of the inspector Columbo whom he likes to quote regularly but which is never shown in the series. The authors also choose this type of character to accentuate his side dangerous or distressing. In the televised series Heroes , the character of Sylar appears truly only at the end of nine episodes, whereas its name is regularly evoked by several other characters since the first episode. The creator Tim Kring and the scenario writer of the series Jeph Loeb explain that they voluntarily took as a starting point the shark of the film the Teeth of the sea to create waiting and to make the character much more worrying. In the cartoon the Inspector Gadget , the sworn enemy of the hero the disaster Doctor Gang, is never entirely revealed with the screen. Only its voice and its hand are known televiewers (although a figurine-toy sold at the market showed its face, but it had to be bought to reveal it).
However, to keep the mystery of the character can be set up by the authors to bring an original key to their work of fiction.
- In the televised series Magnum , Thomas Magnum is engaged by the famous writer Robin Masters to supervise his property in Hawaii and the guests whom it can receive. It is one of the most important characters of the series and Magnum or Higgins, another character, speaks about him very regularly. However, it practically never appears the safe screen in rare occasions and only of back. One of the intrigues for the public is to discover which hides behind the name of Robin Masters. At the time of an episode, Higgins acknowledges that he is the writer before retracting. To date, the producers always refuse to reveal the true identity of the character.
- At the same time, the character of Charlie Townsend in Drôles ladies is one of the characteristics of the series. It is the person in charge of the agency of private detectives and heroins make him a report in each episode. However, the televiewers hear it only via one intercom or a telephone and see only its back or its arms, but it is continuously accompanied by pretty girls. At the oddment, it appeared in a costume of surgeon with a mask and in the film adaptation, one does not see that the back of its head then one sees it only remotely.
These hidden characters appear in all the kinds of fiction, but mainly in the televised series. In this type of program, they can be more developed and last much longer than with the Cinéma or the Théâtre (a film or a part lasts only approximately two hours on average).
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