1, 2, 3, 4 Futures—Ludic Forms in Narrative Films


“One might say that ‘chance’ is anything but blind in forking-path narratives.”

— Edward Branigan (105)

Fictional worlds attract the attention of debaters in particular when they are supposed to activate the viewers’ reflections in a special way. Thus, movies that are most likely to irritate the audience and seem to animate people to reflect on their own personality and life are of major interest. In the following, I want to discuss a certain type of movie that meets these criteria: forking-path or multiple-draft narratives. On the one hand they rely on well-known narrative schemata, and on the other hand they comprise something that is actually impossible: alternative futures. One central thesis raised by spokespersons of the forking-path-debate claims that, when the narration of a movie triggers alternative trajectories or alternative futures, it is also very likely to stimulate alternative interpretations.

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