The director and the script
Rabiger speaks about his various outlooks on subtext and how we understand and connect to it as emotional human beings. He looks at how subtext is used, what its purpose is to the viewer/reader and why it’s so important when choosing a screenplay as a filmmaker. He gives us an idea of what subtext is and how it makes us fill the missing parts of a story without being told what they are but how do we define it?
Subtext can best be defined as an underlying meaning, emotion or sub story behind the dialogue of characters. Subtext is unspoken and is indirectly understood by the viewer/reader as the story further unfolds. The subtext in a story is implied and is often to do with the characters problems, struggles and emotions whether it is happiness, anger, jealousy etc. Subtext is essential for our understanding of a character because it’s what to makes him/her seem realistic. Rabiger explained it as “Every part of a well-written screenplay is a skin covering deeper layers of potential meaning.” In other words subtext can be observed or understood in different ways but essentially is the story that is filled in by the viewer using their imagination and relatable knowledge but is it important?
The crucial part of subtext as a filmmaker is making sure you portray it correctly so that the audience will automatically pick it up. Subtext gives your movie depth and realism even if the audience has different outlooks as to what it may mean:
For example if a man by the name of John is looking at the dirty dishes in his sink and asks his wife “Did you do the dishes like I asked?” and she replies from the other room “Yes, just like I asked you to sweep”. When directly taken it doesn’t make sense because John is clearly looking at the unwashed dishes but by the use of subtext we understand that she did not wash the dishes and that she’s being sarcastic by implying that he never does anything she asks him to do. Rabiger calls the situation a...