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Narrative Analysis
Narrative Analysis

Consequences

1. Adjective for man

9. She said to him

  • 2. Man's name

  • 3. Adjective for woman

10. The consequence

was… (a description of

what happened after)

  • 4. Woman's name

  • 5. Where they met

11. What the world

said

  • 6. He wore

  • 7. She wore

The Basics

  • Narrative refers to the way the story of a film is told, as well as the story itself.

  • narrative structure the order in which the action takes place.

  • It is also important to consider where the audience is

placed in relation to the narrative and whose eyes we see the story through.

Narrative Structure

There are different ways in which a narrative is structured.

1.

Circular

  • 2. Episodic

  • 3. Linear/ non linear

Linear Narrative

  • This is the most simple and commonly used narrative structure

  • In the order in which events happen from beginning to end. AKA cause and effectnarratives as the consequences of one event have an effect on something else and things move along in this linear fashion.

  • Boring? Sixth Sense follow linear narratives but still create intrigue and mystery.

Remember linear narratives are only simplistic in reference to time and place, not in terms of plot!

Circular Narrative

  • The is when a film begins at the end.

  • Start at the end and use a series of flashbacks, or construct the narrative around a single flashback and then return to where the film began.

Episodic Narrative

  • Not all films with flashbacks and voice-overs are circular.

  • For example Forrest Gumphas an interesting narrative structure because although events unfold more or less in chronological order, rather than just

seeing Forrest at the beginning and end of the film, we

keep returning to him sitting on the bench telling his story.

  • The narrative is broken up into episodes or more manageable narrative pieces.

Narrative Viewpoint

  • 1. Restricted Narrative

A narrative that only allows us to know what the

characters know.

2. Omniscient Narrative

A narrative which allows us to know more about the characters and their situations than they know themselves

Task

Of the genres below, which have omniscient narratives

and which have restrictive (usually) and why?

1.

Crime

  • 2. Action

  • 3. Disaster Movie

  • 4. Sci-fi

  • 5. Horror

  • 6. Romance

  • R - If the character is puzzled, then the audience is too

and we must work out what is going on

  • O - Omniscient narratives create suspense rather than mystery

  • We are given a God like view

Roland BarthesCodes

  • The French critic put forward a scheme of five types of coding for analysing stories:

  • The Action Code:

  • Suspense is created by action rather than mystery.

Roland Barthes ’ Codes  The French critic put forward a scheme of five types of

Roland BarthesCodes

  • The Semic Code:

  • All signs and meanings which denote character.

  • E.g, traditional horror films are linked to the supernatural through typical signifiers fear of the light/rapid increase of body hair, monotone voices.

Roland Barthes ’ Codes  The Semic Code:  All signs and meanings which denote character.

Roland BarthesCodes

The Mystery Code:

Suspense is achieved by puzzling the audience. The loose ends need to

be tied up. The narrative is deliberately mixed up to confuse the audience and force them to try and figure out what is going on.


Roland Barthes ’ Codes  The Mystery Code:  Suspense is achieved by puzzling the audience.

Roland BarthesCodes

  • The Cultural Code:

  • Makes reference to information which is part of the real world.

  • James Bond drinks a Martini, drives an Aston Martin.

  • Sex and the City shes always using an Apple mac computer.

Roland Barthes ’ Codes  The Cultural Code:  Makes reference to information which is part
Roland Barthes ’ Codes  The Cultural Code:  Makes reference to information which is part

Roland BarthesCodes

  • Code of Oppositions

  • Binary opposites:

  • Nature v. civilisation

  • Childishness v. maturity

  • Life v. death

Roland Barthes ’ Codes  Code of Oppositions  Binary opposites:  Nature v. civilisation 
Roland Barthes ’ Codes  Code of Oppositions  Binary opposites:  Nature v. civilisation 
  • When looking at opposites, see which side the narrative favours.

Roland Barthes ’ Codes  Code of Oppositions  Binary opposites:  Nature v. civilisation 

Vladimir Propp

Vladimir Propp
Vladimir Propp
Vladimir Propp

Propps 8 main character types

Obviously you can’t take a theory from around 90 years ago about Russian stories and relate
Obviously you can’t take a theory
from around 90 years ago about
Russian stories and relate it
directly to every film made.
Having said that, if you take into
account social change and the
difference in form, it is surprising
how accurately some of Propp’s
character types can be applied to
many modern film narratives.
  • 1. The hero

  • 2. The false hero

  • 3. The princess the reward for the heros endeavours

  • 4. The father (of the princess)

  • 5. The helper helps the

hero along the way.

  • 6. The villain

  • 7. The donor gives the hero something to help them on their quest

  • 8. The dispatcher sends the hero on their quest

What categories would the following well known characters fit into?

  • 1. Gandalf?

  • 2. Lara Croft?

For example…

The 8 character types from Propp's

theory can be found in Aladdin like

so:

The villain - Jafar

The donor - Jafar

The helper - Genie The princess - Jasmine Her father - The Sultan

The dispatcher - Jafar

The hero - Aladdin The anti-hero - Jafar

PDT Charaters Okwe

Senay Gelik

Sneaky / Juan Juliette Gou Yi

Immigration

Officer ….

Todorov

  • 1. The equilibrium the state of balance

in the narrative, where we get to know the

characters and the situation

  • 2. The disruption oppositional characters are introduced and the story moves forward

Todorov was a Bulgarian theorist who devised a way of looking at different stages of the narrative:

  • 3. The recognition (of the disruption) where the story develops, different events and characters become involved and more drama occurs.

  • 4. The attempts to repair the disruption where there may be a twist or climatic point

Can you apply this to a film

you know well?

  • 5. The new equilibrium the problem is solved and harmony is resolved, though things may have changed.

We are now going to continue to watch Dirty Pretty Things.Whilst watching it is vital you make notes in your research notebook on the following:

  • 1. Genre HOW do we know it is a thriller? What other genres are featured and HOW do we know?

  • 2. Narrative HOW is the story told? What type of narrative structure is used?

  • 3. Do any of the theories looked at apply to the film? If so which? And HOW?