FM2 – Section CComparative Analysis of TWO US films from the same genre
Starter TaskNote down a definition ofthe following terms:PROTAGONIST ANTAGONISTThe main character of a A character / group /film for whom the organistion thataudience are intended represent oppositionto identify with. against which theAka. Heroes / Main PROTAGONIST mustCharacters battle. Aka The Villain / Enemy etcIdentify the key PROTAGONISTS & ANTAGONISTS from bothWar of the Worlds & Invasion of the Body Snatchers
LearningIdentify Key terms: ObjectivesNarrative&Story Apply narrative theories to our focus films Evaluate the use of narrative devices in IOTBS
Key Terms In your exam you must be able to distinguish the difference between ‘Narrative’ & ‘Story’ They buried STORY - is used to describe the whole them, Ray, years set of events in, or suggested by the ago, right under are film feet, right under our feet... Theyve been planning this Story involves not only the event we for a million years, and see on screen but also other events these are just the mentioned, or events we do not see first, theyll keep coming, Ray!Write a short synopsis of the story of War of the Worlds
Narrative Narrative – is a way or organising information so it makes sense Narrative refers to the structure of the story itself You may have noticed that most films appear to follow a very similar pattern in terms of structureAncient Greek philosopher Aristotle identified atrend that most narratives followedHe claims narrative can be split in to 5 distinctstages
NarrativeExposition Introduces the setting and the characters to the film audienceDevelopment Storyline is developed and audience introduced to more charactersComplication A complicating event is introduced that will adversely effect the lives of the charactersClimax Dramatic tensions are at their height and everything comes to a head – usually depicted in a battle between the ‘Protagonists’ and ‘Antagonists’ characters
NarrativeResolution The end of the film where stability is re-established and a sense of calm has been restored Using your handouts apply the FIVE STAGES of Aristotle’s narrative theory to the short film you are about to watch Extension – pick 5 moments or actions that best demonstrated the stages in each film
Cause and EffectEach event in a story tends to lead to another – it is veryrare that a scene in a film will not move the narrativeforward or have a connection to scenes either side of itThis is called ‘Cause & Effect’ E.g. Fellowship of the Ring Bilbo gives Frodo begins Frodo meets the ring to a journey to the other Frodo and Rivendell Hobbits leaves Frodo meets Attacked by Escape and the other Ring Wraiths meet Strider Hobbits
Cause and EffectTzvetan Todorov devised a theory that explained how filmsuse the ‘cause and effect’ model to propel their narrativesHe states that the function of a narrative is tosolve a problem – and each event takes thefilm closer to its end when all events / issueswill be resolvedHe states that most narratives can be split into five distinct sections:
Equilibrium1 A condition in which everything is in a state of order Disruption2 Equilibrium is disrupted either by a force of some kind or through the actions of the characters Recognition3 The characters of the film acknowledge the disruption taking place Attempt to Repair4 The characters will attempt to repair the disruption and take actions that lead towards the end of the narrative Return to Equilibrium5 Equilibrium (condition in which everything is in a state of order) is re-established and a sense of order is restored
Using your handouts apply the FIVE STAGES of Todorov’s narrative theory to both focus films Extension – pick 5 scenes or actions that best demonstrated the stages in each film
Match the keywords with their definitions TWISTA section of the film from the future isshown before it would normally have FLASHFORWARDhappened MONTAGEA section of the film or the story isreferred back to. FLASHBACKWhere part of the film (often the end) isunpredictable or even shocking TWIST FLASHBACKA form of editing that can show a lot oftime or events passing in a short PARALLEL MONTAGEcollection of shots NARRATIVESWhere the lives of characters movealongside each other for some of the film PARALLELwithout them meeting. FLASHFORWARD NARRATIVES
Narrative DevicesWhat is the purpose of this flashback – what devicesare used to remind the audience this is a flashback? The Usual Suspects (1995) dir. Bryan Singer
Narration: Voice OverWatch this use of voice over- what function does it serve? Sin City (2005) dir. Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
MontageThere is no better way to understand montage than to see one!
IOTBS & NarrativeWorking in pairs create a list of reasons why thedirector Don Siegel chose to use both flashbacksand narration (voice Over) in Invasion of theBodySnatchers Consider: The effect on the audience How these techniques provide certain information to the audienceHow the use of flashbacks and narration impact on how we see / relate to Dr. Miles
SummaryNarrative is a method of storytellingIt refers to the structure of the film and begins at the firstsecond, ending at the lastTodorov states most narratives can be split in to fivedistinct sectionEquilibriumDisruptionRecognitionAttempt to RepairReturn to EquilibriumNot all films follow this structure – you must consider thereasons why IOTBS does not have a clear resolution
A/S Film Studies FM2 – SECTION C AMERICAN FILM
Claude Levi-Levi Strauss argued that meaning making systems, suchStraussas narrative rely on sets of ‘Binary Oppositions’Binary Oppositions are conflictsbetween two elements, which areexpressed as oppositese.g. ‘Good’ Versus ‘Evil’ Vs.Binary Oppositions help make anarrative easier to understand as theyprovide the characters with a clearconflict that must be resolved before thenarrative can end
BinaryBinary oppositions reduce any situation down Oppositions to twopossible states, with two possible outcomesThe oppositions in a narrative createtension and conflict and the audience picksides GOOD EVILWe usually root for the protagonists andhope that they over come the evil they faceThe main function of binary oppositions are to reducecomplex ideas down to two opposing statesIn doing so a conflict / disruption is created that mustbe repaired before the narrative’s resolution
BinaryLevi Struass argued that binary oppositions in Oppositions filmsreinforce the values of the societies that make themGood Vs. EvilRight Vs. WrongJustice Vs. CrimeHero Vs. VillainAs we have become familiar with narratives that reinforce ourvalues (justice must over come crime / good must overcome eviletc) we have come to expect our films to contain & reinforce thesevaluesWhen films / character do not embody these values audiencesmay reject the film as it is in conflict with their own values
Binary Oppositions Using the space on your handouts, create a list of the binary oppositions that are typical of the Science Fiction GenreNow make a list of all the Binary Oppositions that are contained within both of our focus films
Propp’s CharacterBinary oppositions reduce any situation down to two typespossible states, with two possible outcomesVladimir Propp developed a theory about charactersand their actions or roles within a narrative.Characters, according to Propp, have a narrative‘function’; they provide a structure for the text.He also identified the role that character interactionplays in setting a narrative in motion, pushing italong, and finally bringing it to a ‘satisfying’conclusion. (Cause and Effect)Propp studied over 100 Russian folk tales and created alist of conventions that appeared consistentlyHis study is called ‘Morphology of the Folktale’
Morphology of the FolktaleOne of the features Propp identified as being consistentthroughout the work he studied was the types ofcharacters that appearedHe claimed that the number of charactersin a narrative was limited to 31Each of the 31 characters has a specificfunction or role that ultimately contributesto the resolution of the narrativeThe seven main character types are asfollows:
Morphology of the FolktaleThe Hero seeking something, to fullfill a ‘lack’ of some kindThe Villain opposes the hero – their goal is to make the hero failThe Donor Aids the hero by giving them an item – usually magical – that will help them on their questThe Dispatcher send the hero on a quest of some kind (Dispatcher may begin the journey with the hero, but rarely completes the entire journey)
Morphology of theThe Helper Folktale assists the Hero in some wayThe Princess (not always a female character) doubles as a reward for the hero and / or the object of the villains plotThe False Hero Disrupts the hero’s success by makingfalse claims (often speaking and acting like ahero) before being exposed as a non-hero TASK: Pick ONE of the following three trailers and identify the character types from the film
Cause & Effect CharactersThe characters in a narrative are the main agentsof ‘cause & effect’Each character will act out of a ‘personal motive’ –when they are introduced we learn about theirmotives i.e. what are their aims?These motives are the cause of the events thatunfold in the narrative around the characterAs a result, the motives will drive the characterand become the cause of action within the text What are the motivation of both Miles and Ray?
Cause & Effect CharactersAnalysis character motivation is essential if we areto understand the messages contained with a filmThe main motivations of characters will come in toconflict with those of other characters who areattempting to achieve other goalsThis is the cause of tension in the narrative andthe effect can lead to confrontations / actions What conflicts do Ray and Miles face? How do these conflicts impact on how we respond to the film?
Cause & EffectConflicts are essential to narrative as the force it Characters toprogressAs with any conflict we are invited to take sides Why are we more likely to take the side of the protagonist?We take their side because we are seeing the worldthrough their eyesIf they see something as dangerous, we have no choicebut to share their opinionsWhy is it important we take the side of Miles in IOTBS?
Cause & Effect CharactersMiles see’s the Pod People as a threat to AmericansocietyAs a result we adopt that view point and see them asantagonisticBy doing so, the director has manipulated ourresponse to the film and in-directly, encouraged us tofeel the same way as Miles How does this allow filmmakers to challenge opinions of their audiences?
Cause & Effect CharactersUsing the information in your handouts and notesmade in lessons, create a mind map containing allpossible areas of discussion for the following examquestion: How does this allow filmmakers to challenge opinions of their audiences?
Criticism of Propp’s Theory• AS Level examiners have grown to HATE Propp- because everyone learns the lists & tries to apply it to any narrative they are discussing.• Propp’s theory applies quite easily to fairy stories, and to other similar narratives based around quests - IT DOES NOT APPLY TO ALL NARRATIVES.• Repeating the same formula will put people off seeing a film where they can predict exactly how the plot will develop.• BUT…Of course, there are others who will gain satisfaction from this same experience.