Deceptive Retrospective Narrative Strategy and Synchronistic Prerequisite: Case Study on The Design of Impossible Puzzles




Bi Gan, cinema narrative, impossible puzzle films, Jungianism, Long Day’s Journey into Night, mind-game films, meaning-making, narrative prerequisites, retrospectivity, synchronicity


The deceptive clues in the impossible puzzle film confirm the viewer’s internal expectations and allow retrospective attributing. In the film, a transcendental object negates an internal expectation, causing a retrospective blockage. Retrospectivity does not stop there; the transcendental object reinterpreting deceptive clues in the associative area leads to repeated attribution. This article consists of three parts. First, it discusses impossible puzzle films in the context of complex narrative classification. The following section introduces the Jungian concept of synchronicity and illustrates how it works. The article concludes with a case study of Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018), which contains more complicated puzzles and explains how mind-game narrative techniques create deceptive clues and induce deceptive retrospective attribution.

Author Biography

Yu Yang, University of Lisbon

Yu Yang earned a Bachelor of Arts in art design from Jiangnan University in China (2010), a Master of Arts in visual arts from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia in Italy (2018), and a PhD in performative arts and moving image at the University of Lisbon's Faculty of Fine Arts (2023). His areas of interest in research include poetic cinema, Chinese cinema, cinematic narrative, and cinematic architecture.


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How to Cite

Yang, Y. (2023). Deceptive Retrospective Narrative Strategy and Synchronistic Prerequisite: Case Study on The Design of Impossible Puzzles. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 11(1), 258–288.