Introduction to Narrative
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  • 2. WHAT IS NARRATIVE? Narrative is the storytelling of the connected events within a film which give it an overall meaning. It is how the story unfolds and how the plot is revealed to the audience. WHAT IS A CLOSED NARRATIVE? A closed narrative is used in film making where the story contains a beginning middle and end. The story ends at the end of the film making it one overall story that is not left to continue as an open narrative of something such as a soap opera would. The audience see the story unravel and come to a conclusion.
  • 3. WHY IS NARRATIVE IMPORTANT? Without a narrative, a film has no meaning and no story to follow leaving nothing for the audience become involved in. This means the film can become boring and an audience won’t want to watch it. Without a narrative it is difficult for a film to move on so can be slow. A good narrative is key in making a good film. However, some film types are based on the lack of a narrative such as surrealism. Surrealist films defy the need for a story but are normally very confusing leading to many questions.
  • 4. WHAT IS THE IDEA OF THE THREE ACTS? The three act structure is what many film narratives are modelled off and judged on in the modern era. This divides the story into three distinctive parts called the setup, the confrontation and the resolution. The first act normally establishes the characters, their relationships with each other and the world in which they live. At the end of the first act is normally when the protagonist and issue arise. The second act is when the problem increases and the protagonist tries to resolve it leaving to the situation worsening and them needing further skills or information to solve it. The third act is where the narrative reaches its climax and the story becomes resolved after the protagonist overcomes their problem.
  • 5. WHAT ARE TODOROV’S THREE TERMS? Todorov came up with a theory that most narratives included the same conventions which were always followed. Today this film structure is very recognisable and can be applied to most modern “mainstream” films. The equilibrium: A happy start The disruption of the equilibrium: The problem occurs The restoration of the equilibrium: The problem is resolved He also believed that the characters were transformed by the end of the film when its circular structure took them back to how they had started. Although the equilibrium at the end of the film differs to the beginning, they are back to a similar situation as new people.
  • 7. ACT ONE: (Equilibrium – Two characters who are about to become a couple) We are introduced to the two main characters, Juno and Paulie, and their weird on/off relationship. We learn how Juno is a strong independent minded female whereas Paulie is a more shy, quiet character but are outsiders when faced with their fellow school mates. We are made aware that the two are in an American high school together in a small town which is not run down but not luxurious either. As the audience we see that the two are very keen on each other but know they are unaware of this themselves. Junos actions then hint to pregnancy.
  • 8. ACT TWO: Disruption (Juno finds out she is pregnant and becomes distant from Paulie. She doesn’t know what to do.) Through the actions of Juno (her drinking a lot to make her pee and buying many pregnancy tests) we are aware that Juno fears she may now be carrying Paulies child. We already know of there on/off relationship and we see how this begins to effect her as she tells him they should stay distant from each other even though it is clear the two want to be together. As a teenager, more problems are caused for Juno who decides to get an abortion. However, as she walks to the clinic she decided she can’t do it and seeks another resolution. As the independent female we have already been introduced to she makes all the decisions herself and looks into adoption. However when this plan also begins to fail when the adopting parents to be split up, Juno faces her biggest decision and takes a 3rd step to solve her problem.
  • 9. ACT THREE: New Equilibrium (The baby is adopted, Juno and Paulie support each other and have a stronger relationship) Juno decides that despite the adopting parents splitting up, she wants the woman to still adopt her child. She leaves a note on her doorstep and allows her to adopt her baby once it is born. After Juno has given birth, Paulie turns up at the hospital to offer Juno his support. We soon realise the pair are back together and have accepted how their baby will be adopted and they will have their time to have a baby when they’re older. The final scenes show Vanessa (the step mum) looking after Junos baby happily while Juno and Paulie are sat outside a house in the sun with each other singing and then kiss. Everything is back to normal for them and their relationship is now a lot stronger.
  • 10. WHO WAS PROPP? Vladimir Propp is a media theorist who analysed the basic plot of many Russian folk tales to find and identify their simplest narrative elements. He did this by breaking narrative into sections to define the sequences within it. He then concluded that he characters could also be summarised into 7 main character types. He tested his theory on 100 tales and believed it worked for them all.
  • 11. PROPPS CHARACTER ROLES: 1. The villain (struggles against the hero) 2. The donor (prepares the hero or gives the hero something that will help them) 3. The helper (helps the hero on their quest 4. The princess (Person the hero marries, sought for during narrative) 5. The false hero (seems good but turns out bad in the end) 6. The dispatcher (character that makes the lack known, sends hero off) 7. The hero or victim, reacts to the donor, weds to the princess
  • 12. HERO/VICTIM:JUNOMACGUFF The hero (who is normally male but in the case a female) faces a quest to restore the narrative equilibrium. They are the centre of the story and the victim of the villain. In Juno, she starts off as a normal teenage girl but then finds out she is pregnant and faces the task of solving her problem and getting back to the lifestyle which she wants.
  • 13. DISPATCHER:BREN/MAC The dispatcher starts the hero on their way and normally aids the hero into the task of restoring the equilibrium. Junos parents tell her she must find a solution and although they do not help her find it they support her and aid her when she gives birth and has her child adopted to restore the equilibrium.
  • 14. VILLAIN: SU-CHIN The villain opposes the hero and creates a narrative disruption. When Juno attempts to resolve her pregnancy by getting an abortion, Su-Chin is protesting outside and persuades her not to delaying the resolution in the narrative and causing Juno to look for another solution.
  • 15. DONOR:LEAH The donor helps the hero by giving them an object or some advise. Juno tells Leah she is pregnant and doesn’t want an abortion and Leah recommends looking into adoption which moves the narrative further towards in equilibrium as Juno begins to find an adopting family for her soon to be born child.
  • 16. HELPER:VANESSALORING The helper aids the hero in restoring the equilibrium. Vanessa agrees to adopt Junos baby and raise them in a happy family home. Even when Mark leaves her Vanessa still adopts Junos child leading to the resolution and new equilibrium.
  • 17. FALSE HERO: MARK LORING The false hero seems to be good throughout the film up until just before the final resolution where he is discovered to be bad. Juno believes her child is being adopted by a couple who will remain together forever which is important to her since her mother left her when she was young. However last minute Mark leaves Vanessa and Junos ideas for a perfect family for her child are ruined.
  • 18. PRIZE:PAULIEBLEEKER The prize is the reward for the hero/victim at the end of their quest. During the disruption Paulie becomes distant to Juno who still cares a lot about him. After she gives birth and the baby is adopted, Paulie comes to support her and the two are reunited.