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  • 1. CODAL ANALYSIS Rhiannon Jenkins
  • 2. Code Overview • Todorov’s theory suggests that narrative is equilibrium - disruption - new equilibrium. • Propp’s analysis of Russian Fairytales although not claimed to be universal, can be applied generally to most narratives in terms of the character stereotypes. • Levi-Strauss identified binary opposites which are used to identify differences between characters such as young/old, and to contrast the settings and mood of the trailer, e.g. dark/light, good/bad.
  • 3. Code Overview Barthes 5 Narrative Codes: • Enigma Code Refers to the mystery within a text; often keeps the audience interested to find out the end result. • Action Code Showing sequential clips of action which leaves the audience wanting to again know the result. • Semantic Code Parts within the text that have an extra layer of meaning. • Symbolic Code Symbolism within the texts create contrast and greater meaning. • Referential Code Refers to an external body of knowledge such as scientific, cultural, historical or political knowledge.
  • 4. The Skeleton Key
  • 5. Visual Codes • Uses visual imageries of graveyards and sacrifice which represents death to the viewer. • Dark and dingy lighting is used which is mood enhancing and creates tension. • The weather in the trailer is generally dark and/or rainy which represents the mood and atmosphere of the film. • Rural areas such as forests are shown and there is no use of technology shown throughout the trailer which leaves the impression that the setting has the characters very isolated.
  • 6. Audio Codes • A husky American narrative voice is used in the first 30 seconds or so to help set the mood and tone of the trailer as well as giving a brief overview of the themes. • Sharp, metallic sound effects are used throughout to help enhance the visual scenes in the trailer such as the scenes suggesting sacrifice, as well as augmenting the jumpier scenes such as where Ben grabs the protagonists arm. These sound effects are used as they provide a more suspense-filled experience for the audience. • Non–digetic music is used to intensify the mood of the trailer. The piano music that starts around 40 seconds in appears calm but also quite sinister, which portrays the initial tone of the film trailer.
  • 7. Narrative Codes • The Skeleton Key trailer ends during a disruption, which leaves the viewer curious as to how and if the new equilibrium will be resolved. • In The Skeleton Key the stock character of the Hero can be seen as the protagonist. However, it is not made clear who the Villain (Antagonist) is, which is a selling point of the film as the audience are curious to find out who it is. • Binary opposites are used to identify differences between characters in the trailer such as young/old, ill/healthy and malefemale. They are also used to contrast the settings and mood of the trailer, e.g. dark/light, good/bad.
  • 8. Action Codes • The religious ceremony at the start of the trailer could be seen as innocent, but the context of the trailer makes it come across more malicious. • When the protagonist circles the job ad she is connoting to the audience that she is going for this job which also suggests that this is where the disruption of the equilibrium will start. • When Ben looks into the mirror the protagonist is holding he begins to fit but the audience are not shown exactly what he has seen or what has caused it. This also happens when he points to the door; the audience are not shown what he has seen.
  • 9. Enigma Codes • The voice-over in the trailer mentions “unexplained incidents” that still happen to this day, but the audience are never told what exactly they are. • The protagonist sets out a line that “people who mean (her) harm cannot cross” and the next clip shows a woman not able to cross it, but it is not revealed why. • A woman says “you see them, in the mirrors” but it is never revealed who. • The trailer ends with the protagonist admitting “it‟s all real” but the audience is still not aware what exactly is going on or whether she gets out alive.
  • 10. Technical Codes • On screen text is used fairly frequently throughout the trailer and is used to show the title, release, the acclaimed writer and is then used three times swiftly one after the other to enhance the plot line. Each piece of text is only shown for a second. • The start of the trailer fades clips quickly one over the other to give a general idea of the religious ceremony. When the trailer moves back to everyday life the fades become less frequent and often go to black in between • Pictures of the ghosts have been edited in over the original clip and flash over the screen for split seconds to leave the audience wondering if they are really there.
  • 11. A Nightmare On Elm Street
  • 12. Visual Codes • All of the scenes are very dimly lit, some have hardly any light at all or use background light to create a silhouette. • The settings are all quite plain and desolate. • Images of death, graves, pain, possession, fear, destruction.
  • 13. Audio Codes • Non diegetic music and sound effects are used to create • • • • tension by recreating footsteps coming towards someone. Fast paced music is used at the start which puts the audience right in the middle of the action and draws them in. Metallic sounds are used to intensify the atmosphere and give the idea of knives slashing. Children‟s voices singing are used along with the music which is chilling for the viewer. There is no voice-over narration.
  • 14. Narrative Codes • Binary opposites are used in the trailer with a lot of blue colours that represent cold along with the snow which contrasts the fire on the candles and in the building • There is a clear villain (antagonist) but what seems to be more than one hero (protagonist). We are also shown a scene with the villain and the damsel in distress character, which ends abruptly and with no resolution. • The trailer only conforms to Todorov‟s theory up to a point as it ends in disruption.
  • 15. Action Codes • Action packed at the start when the antagonist is running into a building with a mob of people chasing him which conforms to the thriller genre. • Supernatural action when the girl is lifted out of the bed by thin air. • Dragging the knife-hand across the metal creates a sound most people detest so is unsettling for the viewer.
  • 16. Enigma Codes • When the man is burned to death the audience do not know why, who he is or what he has supposedly done • The audience do not know why the girl is having dreams about a “burnt” man or why she or the other characters cannot fall asleep • The audience do not know why the “burnt man” is going after the characters in the trailer and still do not know who he is • The trailer ends with the man leaning over one of the main characters saying “this won‟t hurt a bit” and he then raises a knife covered hand to her face, leaving the audience wondering what is going to happen to her
  • 17. Technical Codes • On screen text in blood red writing – date of release, successful producer, film title and the phrase “don‟t fall asleep” • As the rhythm of the background music becomes faster, the cuts between slides and cuts to black become more frequent. As well as this there are some cuts to white which flash so are more unnerving for the viewer.
  • 18. Shutter Island
  • 19. Visual Codes • The setting of a mental hospital is quite sinister as many of the patients are a potential threat. • The setting is quite sterile and clean looking which juxtaposes the mess that is going to occur. • The patient the viewer sees in the garden is unkempt and looks very messy. • The island is in the middle of nowhere so is isolated. • As the trailer progresses the images become more and more terrifying, such as the man with the stitched up face and the woman that crumbles to ash.
  • 20. Audio Codes • Snippets of dialogue is taken from the film to help briefly explain to the audience the basic plotline of the trailer as well as setting it. • Sounds that are much like gunshots are used throughout the trailer, particularly towards the end to create jump scares and build tension in the audience. • The above point also works in conjunction with the dramatic music that is played in the background. It starts off fairly calm but then builds to a climax that then leaves the audience without any catharsis.
  • 21. Narrative Codes • Binary opposites in appearance show the patients very scruffy, some covered in tattoos in comparison to the more wealthy and „sane‟ professors who are immaculately dressed and well presented. Later on in the trailer the protagonist also becomes very unkempt, suggesting he may be turning insane himself. • Much like the other two trailers, Shutter Island ends in disruption.
  • 22. Action Codes • The gates opening shows they are used to keep the patients in and seeing the protagonist enter means he may be in danger and cannot escape. • The patient tries to grab the protagonist through the iron gates as well as when one prisoner jumps on top of the protagonist which shows how dangerous they both are. • The wind blowing open the doors shows how strong nature outside is. • The protagonist picking up the gun frantically shows he feels threatened.
  • 23. Enigma Codes • It is not initially revealed why they are at the mental hospital • • • • • until later on in the trailer which keeps the audience watching. The audience do not know anything about the escaped prisoner except that she is a female and she may be anywhere on the entire island. The protagonist says “its like they‟re scared of something” which leaves the audience thinking what that could be. The film trailer hints that the real antagonist could be something much more than just an escaped prisoner. Many images are shown such as the woman dissolving to ash and a sudden surge of fire that have the viewer question what that has to do with the plotline. The trailer ends with the protagonist being dragged down some stairs by what is assumed to be an inpatient, which leaves the audience wondering what is going to happen to him.
  • 24. Technical Codes • Quick fades to black at the start and a mixture of cuts and fades are used throughout the trailer which quicken in pace to build tension. • Longer fades are used to separate the parts of the plotline which are show. • Flashes to white appear later on in the trailer which directly represent the lightening and bad weather which suggests to the audience something mysterious or bad is going to occur, much like an approaching storm.
  • 25. Summary • Settings in all are dark and dingy. The Skeleton Key and A • • • • Nightmare on Elm Street both feature images of graveyards, connoting death which is conventional to the horror genre. Metallic and gunshot sound effects are used in the trailers which connotes the idea of violence, death and sinning. All trailers in end disruption which keeps the audience interested and wanting to know what happens next. All of these trailers have some sort of supernatural element so the enigma codes are mainly superhuman and keep the audience attracted because the enigma isn‟t easy to be solved. On screen text is shown throughout all of the trailers to show the films‟ slogan, name and release date.