1b. Analyze your production in
relation to narrative
A structuralist approach to narrative
Roland Barthes wrote an essay entitled ‘The Death
of the Author’
He theorized that nothing is ever written, only re-
This basically weakens the legitimacy of the
‘author’, who, therefore, is reduced to the writer .
He argued that, instead, it is the reader who makes
meaning by linking images with cultural
Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (Sunless)
‘If they don’t see happiness in the picture, at
least they’ll see the black’
The 5 codes
• The action code
• The enigma code
• The symbolic code
• The cultural code
• The semantic code
Barthes: a woman is sexualized more by her clothes than
her naked body. That’s why a stripper leaves the stage
before the moment of nudity
Narrative created through action/ events: consider
how this might be inherent in short films?
Narratve created through raising questions
Narrative created through conflict/ opposing ideas
Narrative created through cultural understanding/
ideology: consider how the location of your film,
and also how issues of sexuality, will play a part in
creating narrative for your target audience
Narrative created through connotation/ denotation
• Binary oppositions
Levi-Strauss theorized that understanding is
formed through oppositions. This premise is
formed around the idea that, for instance, there
can be no good if there were no evil. We only
know what it means to be good because there is
an opposite force.
Consider how binary oppositions are formed
and how meaning is created.
Binary oppositions have been used to create
narratives for thousands of years. Even when
images were used instead of words, before mass
media, before all children had to go to school.
Do some wider research around these narrative
theories and see if you can find a quote or
paraphrase a few sentences which you feel sums
up the concept of narrative.
Then, write 200-300 words about how these
theories can be related to your short film.
1b. Analyse your production in relation
In a few sentences, try to sum up the argument(s)/ main
point(s) of your essay.
For example: I will argue that Todorov’s narrative theory
can be applied to my production. Meaning is created and
the narrative is driven through equilibrium and disruption
Then select 4/5 key sequences which will illustrate your
argument, focusing on the micro elements. The micro
elements will relate directly to the wider narrative theory
(for example, Todorov)