Introduction to narrative_theory

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  • 1. Introduction to Narrative Theory Narrative Theory and Todorov
  • 2. Learning Objective • To become familiar with the ideas of Todorov • To begin to apply narrative theories to film
  • 3. Once Upon a Time… Tell me about your day so far… Narrative Plot Story WHAT (IF ANY) IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE 3 KEY TERMS?
  • 4. Narrative Plot Story A narrative is the relation between a series of events Plot is the order in which the characters find out about these events The story is the strict chronological order in which the events occur Remember, making notes is a crucial part of AS Level Film Studies...
  • 5. So, that means… • "Story is the irreducible substance of a story (A meets B, something happens, order returns), while narrative is the way the story is related (Once upon a time there was a princess...)“ Key Concepts in Communication - Fiske et al (1983)
  • 6. Narrative Structure • There are three ways in which narrative is structured. 1. Circular 2. Episodic 3. Linear
  • 7. Circular Narrative • The is when a film begins at the end. This might sound strange, but if you think about it there are many films that 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.
  • 8. Episodic Narrative • Not all films with flashbacks and voice-overs are circular. For example ‘Forrest Gump’ has 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.
  • 9. Linear Narrative • This is the most simple and commonly used narrative structure; it refers to a story that is told in the order in which events happen – from beginning to end. These are sometimes referred to as ‘cause and effect’ narratives as the consequences of one event have an effect on something else and things move along in this linear fashion. This doesn’t mean to say linear narratives are boring – Sixth Sense and Pan’s Labyrinth 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!
  • 10. Copy and Complete the table below with examples of films you know. Circular Narrative Episodic Narrative Linear Narrative Example: Example: Example: Explanation: Explanation: Explanation:
  • 11. 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
  • 12. Task Ofthegenresbelow,whichhaveomniscientnarrativesand whichhaverestrictive(usually)andwhy? CRIME ACTION DISASTER MOVIE SCI-FI HORROR ROMANCE OMNISCIENT RESTRICTIVE
  • 13. TZVETAN TODOROV Todorov was a Bulgarian theorist who devised a way of looking at different stages of the narrative.
  • 14. Asagroup,applythistheorytoCasablanca. You will need to put things that happen in the PLOT section – and which characters are involved in the CHARACTER section. PLOT CHARACTER Stage 1 Equilibrium Stage 2 Disruption Stage 3 Recognition Stage 4 Action Stage 5 Equilibrium Restored
  • 15. Relationship Between Narrative and Genre • A study of different genres in film and television will suggest that the formula requires the narrative to be closed in a different way for each genre. • “Both are means in which the world of human experience can be reconstructed, rearranged and reimagined.” - H.Newcomb (2004)
  • 16. Task Using Todorov’s narrative theory as a base, create a diagram which represents the general narrative patterns of these genres. Use the films you know to help you. HORROR COMEDY SCI-FI