ASSIGNMENT 7Narrative and film theoryName: Rahel FasilDue Date: 18th October 2011
Narrative• In a media piece, the narrative is the organisation of events that are shown to the audience.• There are many different types of narrative. They are; closed/open narrative, non linear, flashback, foreshadowing, binary oppositions,
Tvzetan Todorov• A philosopher who writes essays and books on this theories through studying many folk tales. He’s published 21 books focusing on historical matters.• Todorov’s theory implies that every narrative must have a structure split into three. Starting with an equilibrium, then a disruption to the equilibrium and finally the equilibrium returns.
Todorov’s narrative approach• His theory is that films start with an equilibrium with everything balanced.• Then during the middle there is a disturbance to the equilibrium which is the disequilibrium.• Finally at the end the equilibrium is restored which is the new equilibrium.
Example of a film using Todorov’snarrative The Shining Point: start of film has balanced equilibrium Explanation: the character is happy and there is nothing busy going on Effect: calm and steady atmosphere Point: middle of film has disrupted equilibrium Explanation: faster pace and audience is more drawn Effect: eventful and unsettling atmosphere Point: at the end equilibrium is restored Explanation: the film has gone back to happy characters Effect: calm and stable atmosphere
Claude Levi-Strauss• French ethnologist and anthropologist.• He dealt with people’s race, origins and their unique characteristics.• He’s published many books on anthropology and the community.• He also researched myths of tribal cultures.
Levi-Strauss’ narrative theory• The narrative is centred on the forces of opposites and the purpose of conflict.• Consequently, after researching many myths worldwide, Levi-Strauss concluded that we understand the world, events and people by using and observing binary opposites.• Binary opposition helps us to contemplate how ideas are formed.
Example of a film using Levi-Strauss’ narrative Texas Chainsaw Massacre• Point: Levi-Strauss’ narrative is being used in this film• Explanation: the girl is alive and dies within seconds• Effect: shows audience that life can be snatched from you at any time which engages the audience because the death is realistic.
Vladimir Propp• A Russian Soviet formalist professor• He examined the plot of Russian folktales to recognise aspects of narrative.• He published a Russian book in 1928 called Morphology of the Folktale signifying key elements such as morphology.
Propp’s narrative theory• After all his research he discovered that in stories there are 8 types of characters always present; the villain, the donor, the princess, the helper, the dishonest hero, the dispatcher, the hero and the father.• This is very ambiguous as he didn’t confirm that the 8 characters types were different people; i.e. the father could be the dishonest hero as well.• He claimed there were 8 character types and 31 they ever do.
Examples of a film using Propp’s narrative• Point: close up is used of the • Point: close up shot is • Point: the woman is holding a woman’s face used of the news paper knife• Explanation: her mouth and article • Explanation: this is an eyes are wide open to • Explanation: makes the example of Propp’s narrative emphasise revenge woman seem dangerous as she seems like the villain of• Effect: close up enables you • Effect: the audience the film to see the facial expressions already has a perception of • Effect: the audience already which allows the audience to the character, which is that has the perception that she is immediately distinguish the she could commit crime. dangerous and out of control. character’s role in the film The atmosphere also becomes intense.