1. Introduction
Conceptual metaphor theory, as it was initially proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) and subsequently developed by many others (Lakoff 1993; Johnson 2007; Gibbs 1994, 1998; Kövecses 2000, 2002a,) suggests that metaphors are conceptual in the sense that they play an essential role in the mental representations of our most abstract concepts. One of the main claims this theory puts forth is that we constantly draw on our knowledge of and experience with the physical world around us in order to understand or structure abstract conceptual domains. While exploiting the grounding of metaphorical thought in our bodily experience, many of the scholars claiming that humans think metaphorically have shown particular interest in the operations that are performed in the individual mental structure. More recently, however, (cognitive) linguistics (Gibbs and Steen 1999; Kövecses 2005; Gibbs 2008) have argued that embodied metaphors arise not only from the intricacies of the body, which are then represented in the mind, but also, to a large extent, from the intimate interactions between mind, body, and culture. What follows from this view is that it is crucial to extend our understanding of conceptual metaphors beyond the examination of what goes on in individual minds, to the analysis of their systematic presence in the cultural world. As Raymond W. Gibbs Jr. clearly shows in his
 Metaphor in cognitive linguistics
 (1999), one cannot fully understand cognition if one continues to maintain that cognitive structures are necessarily “in the head”. Instead, one should explore what happens when “the body meets the world” (Gibbs 1999, 153), which points to the idea that metaphors should be taken “out of our heads” and placed into the
Multimodal Metaphors in “The Romanian New Wave” 208
cultural world (Gibbs 1999, 145). It is within the confinements of our cultural values that metaphors reflect (though they do not mirror perfectly) a distributed model of cognition, publicly shared across members of a particular speech community. The aim of this chapter is to foreground the cultural dimensions of conceptual metaphor and to show how cultural values and beliefs incorporated in metaphors are related to our embodied behaviors and, perhaps more importantly, internalized as emergent mental properties. In order to test the implications of this claim, I shall investigate the role of metaphor in structuring and shaping a variety of public cultural models. In our modern world, as Zoltán Kövecses (2005, 193) argues, cultural models can comprise “any coherent organization of human experience shared by people”, which means that such models can give us the true measure of how individuals relate to the world, how they act publicly, how they interpret their experiences, and finally, how they express their beliefs and values. We are all navigating among heterogeneous cultural models which can take a diversity of forms and which can be potentially instantiated in a host of domains, ranging from media images, art forms, and pictorial advertisements to cultural events or institutions. Despite obvious differences in the forms it takes, culture makes possible the investigation of a shared model of cognition and of a particular worldview. It involves encyclopedic knowledge of the world which is then used to interpret the meaning of an experience within a given community. Drawing on this last assumption and also on the claim that cultural models are metaphorically constituted (Kövecses 1999), this chapter will emphasize the widespread set of culturally sensitive metaphors developed in the visual medium of film narratives. The case will be made by exploring one of the most pervasive and powerful foundational cultural models in modern Romanian life–the “New Wave” of short films. The scope of the short cinematic narratives released in Romania roughly in the last decade is wide and deep. Most essentially, these narratives function as homogenous examples of cultural models that share a family resemblance and a common underlying sensitivity which have both contributed to the new “style” or “ethos” of recent Romanian culture.
2. Romanian short films as established cultural models
It is not sufficient to recognize that Romanian short films can be treated as cultural models or socially mediated forms of knowledge. What is also needed is to acknowledge the implications of how these shorts can render people’s experience perceptually significant and readily
Gabriela Tucan
communicable to the audience. In other words, one needs to better understand how these cultural models have become the necessary resource for creating meaning in the lives of a large community of spectators. In the first place, these models are products of human imagination in its constant dialogue with the forces of a society under permanent political and economic pressure. Limited by their duration, by the intentional scarcity of technical choices, or by the apparent simplicity of their plot, these incredibly minimalistic shorts nonetheless challenge and inspire. Film critics (see, for instance, Gorzo and State 2014) have emphasized features such as playful rhetorical inventiveness, poetical affinities, and the predisposition for self-reflexivity as accountable for the vibrancy of short films. If critics have rightly assumed that this kind of films are characterized by poetic undertones, little attention has been paid to their underlying metaphorical manifestations. This chapter sets out to discuss three filmic narratives, as widely shared cultural models which are presumably metaphorically constituted. Cristian Nemescu’s
C Block story
, Cristi Puiu’s
and coffee
, and C
lin Mitulescu’s
 are individual cultural productions in which one can identify finely orchestrated metaphors in non-verbal corpora. By investigating such metaphorical representations, the chapter will attempt to infer larger-scale patterns of metaphorical thought that have been reliably inscribed in our public cultural webs. Such an approach is an explicit acknowledgment of the defining role of metaphorical thought in shaping culture.
3. Metaphors in short(s): from verbal to multimodal
C Block story
and coffee
, and
 create memorable yet simple stories which become increasingly sharper and more challenging as filmic incidents and events unfold in the narrative with a metaphorical force. In this way, spectators are invited to engage critically with metaphors and interpret virtually every metaphorical undertone. The scope of the filmic metaphor in these shorts, however, expands in order to cover various spectrums, from language to multiple layers of soundtrack, non-verbal sounds, patterns of movement, or the arrangement of the visual elements. It is the sound, the music, or the pictorial sign that provides the filmic imagery of these shorts with new meaning. These are examples of multimodal metaphors which are concrete “realization[s] of conceptual metaphors” (Kövecses 2002b, 57), represented “exclusively or predominantly” in non-verbal forms (Forceville and
Urios-Aparisi 2009, 4). Charles Forceville (2009) first adopted the concept of multimodal
Multimodal Metaphors in “The Romanian New Wave” 210
metaphor, building on previous work in conceptual metaphor (see Fauconnier and Turner 2008; Lakoff 1993) which suggested that metaphors triggered an interaction between two different domains, construable as the target and, respectively, the source domain. The target domain is generally structured as an abstract domain while, on the contrary, the source domain is usually described as concrete. Features of the source domain are thus mapped onto the target domain to allow the understanding of the abstract in terms of the concrete. Contrary to monomodal metaphors, in multimodal metaphors, both the source and the target can be expressed in concrete terms. In addition to these formal differences, metaphors in multimodal representations are able to create new forms of understanding, other than the ones rendered exclusively in verbal forms, and which have a potentially more powerful emotional impact:
[...] the pictorial or multimodal nature of target and source means that they are apprehended differently from their verbal counterparts: pictures, sounds, and gestures have a perceptual immediacy that is lacking in language. (Forceville 2008, 463)
In the artistic contexts of the three shorts, multimodal metaphors are construable even though they are not consciously intended as such by the filmmakers. What they provide in fact is a number of salient clues for the recognition of metaphor; spectators are thus provided with the simultaneous presentation of two domains representing, for instance, a picture and a sound, a sequence of shots and a sequence of sounds, a camera close-up and a focused image, or panoramic shots and out-of-focus images (or any other combinations of such elements and many others). Multimodal metaphors can therefore emerge from the composition and the movement of the camera, from the choices of camera lenses and camera angles. The directors’ interest in cinematography and their belief in the importance of camerawork supplement the surface simplicity of the plots. In their stories and settings, camera movement, angle techniques or the distance of framing are not arranged literally, but metaphorically. On the other hand, visual and acoustic elements can generate other multimodal metaphors (see Coëgnarts and Kravanja
2012) that may exercise “thin persuasive narrative influences more subtly than, for instance, metaphors whose terms are both presented in pictorial terms” (Forceville 2009, 397). In the transition between the older and the new Romania, Nemescu’s
C Block story
 presents the post-1989 working-class family. The story is simple: the father has a job in a textile factory where the only distractions from the monotonous work are the women’s incessant talks about soap-
Gabriela Tucan
opera characters. The mother pretends to be a full-time secretary but viewers soon learn that she actually works for an erotic phone line at night. Whether by coincidence or not, the son calls the same erotic line and asks for advice on how to approach a girl living in the same building. The short starts with the teenager reaching for the phone in order to dial the number of the erotic line. Instantly, the camera becomes fluid and mobile and the dim room is invaded by the flashy night lights of the city. The slow motion of the camera is in perfect accordance with the slowly-tuned rhythms of the soundtrack which contrast with the rapid and frenzied city life. Then, the camera angle becomes wider, revealing a fully packed old-fashioned furnished living room. If various camera movements contribute substantially to the construal of metaphors, so do sounds and the soundtrack. We hear the dial-up sound, the long ringing tone, the languorous soundtrack, and the voice on the erotic line advising the teenager on his first emotional and sexual encounter. When he asks the erotic line: “Excuse me, could you please tell me what I could do with a girl in an elevator?”, the voice (his mother’s) advises him to perform aggressive sexual behavior. When the protagonist decides to follow her instructions, spectators may adopt the following metaphor scenario:
. In this visual-music metaphor, the source domain manifests through the multiple layers of soundtrack and through the languorous voice instructing the teenager on aggressive sexual behavior, whereas the target domain is depicted visually through the literal reality of the claustrophobic living-room. In a particular jump-cut shot in the elevator, the film offers the image of a barred elevator window, partially covering the faces of the two protagonists, the teenager and the girl. This frame alternates with a high-angle shot developed above the graffiti-painted elevator. Both the barred window and the high camera angle indicate a new metaphor:
, emphasizing the idea that the elevator is a space of physical entrapment and surveillance. The high-angled frame showing the cabin of the elevator from above reinforces the fact that it is also a close container of the emotional state of the characters. As spectators decipher the metaphorical underpinnings of the limiting and claustrophobic spaces in the film, they are able to attach new meanings to the cultural context in which the story is anchored. Specifically, the realization may be that post-1989 Romanian society can lead to further forms of confinement by valuing and perpetrating programmed actions and behavior. In another shot of the teenager’s room, the camera tracks slightly back, revealing a poster of Marilyn Monroe, among other pictures of pop stars
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