The relationship between story, film and prose has been on my mind these last few days.
I was once told that it is a 'rule' of screenwriting that you should not invoke a narrator to TELL your audience things. I guess the idea is that the images should be well enough constructed to leave no need for this kind of exposition.
Novelists, of course, love the voice of the narrator. It is their own voice - even if it is sometimes disguised as the voice of a character. It is such a fundamental too in the writer's toolkit, that it is hard to imagine writing a whole novel without it. Where would Anna Karenina or Pride and Prejudice be without those iconic opening lines - the novelistic equivalent of narrative voiceover?
I found myself thinking about a film project today and wondering if I could put in a voiceover. Is this just a novelist's weakness? I spent a few minutes reminding myself of some of the really good uses of a narrative voiceover in film. The two films I though about were Trainspotting and Amelie. The openings of both rely heavily on voiceover. In each case it works to stunning effect. Why? Possibly because the lines being delivered are SO strong.
I guess there are no rules in writing - except to make it good.