<ul><li>Who is the hero/villain?
Where is the story set? What does this tell you about the genre?
How many principal characters are there?
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Questions on the narrative


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Questions on the narrative structures of the six film opening analysis.

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Questions on the narrative

  1. 1. <ul><li>Who is the hero/villain?
  2. 2. Where is the story set? What does this tell you about the genre?
  3. 3. How many principal characters are there?
  4. 4. How is the story told? Chronologically? Or does it switch between the present and the past? What is the effect of this?
  5. 5. What narrative structure can be applied to the opening of each film?
  6. 6. What questions are you as the audience left with?</li></ul>--<br />The Usual Suspects<br />In this sequence we cannot tell who the hero of the story is, but we understand that the unidentified man that is addressed by title at one point is the villain of the story as he allows the destruction to continue and simply walks away from it.<br />The story appears to be set on a boat, in a remote or unpatrolled dock – this could tell us that the genre is a thriller as they are usually set in locations where not many people are present, and at nighttime there is less chance of a crime being discovered.<br />During this scene we are only introduced to two characters, one whose name and face we do not know. The story is told chronologically, but we assume that it is set at the end and will return to what conditions were like previously as the action seems to be at its end. <br />Barthes’ structure can be applied to this opening sequence as we do not know what is happening and the audience must make their own assumptions and interpretations to understand what is going on. We are left wondering who the unidentified man is and what event happened to cause so much destruction.<br />Reservoir Dogs<br />There are no set villains or heroes in the opening scene as we are introduced to a large group of individuals who are all similar and are not discussing/doing anything that would define their set roles.<br />The story is set in a small café in daylight, where we assume other people are also eating. This does not tell us much about the genre and we are compelled to watch more of the film to find out what it is.<br />There are seven principal characters introduced, all of who we are able to see visually and listen to. The story is being told chronologically and starts in a very mundane environment. However because the director is well-known for creating movies that switch between the past and present we are unsure whether this is truly the beginning of the movie or if it is a later scene.<br />Todorov’s structure can be applied to this opening scene as it shows equilibrium between the characters, who all seem to be relaxed – so we can assume that there has been no actions to disrupt this. We are left wondering who these men are and what relation they have to each other.<br />Léon<br />We assume that the man asking for the death of another person is the villain as his identity is unknown and is requesting something illegal. We are unsure where the story is set but assume it is in the last place we saw before the scene cut – a small Italian restaurant. Because we cannot see any other characters and the shots are extremely close up we assume they are alone, which gives us the idea that this film is a thriller as there is no-one else around.<br />We are introduced to two characters directly and another indirectly in this scene. One of the people is referred to in a photograph, however we assume he will be important in the story. The story is told chronologically, from the beginning, as we are being introduced to the action.<br />Propp’s structure can be applied to this scene, although the characters do not necessarily match up with the ones he thought of – the dispatcher is not sending the hero on a righteous quest. We are left wondering why the man in the photograph is going to be killed and who the people discussing the situation are.<br />District 9<br />It is unclear whether there is a hero or villain in this opening sequence as it is set out in the style of a documentary; however because the aliens were ‘found’ and are being taken care of by humans, we can assume that in the overall picture, humans are the heroic race and aliens will be the villainous race.<br />The story is set in various offices, where people are explaining to the camera – and therefore the audience of the story as well as those watching the film – what the situation is. We cannot identify the film as a thriller from this point as they are simply following how a documentary would be filmed normally.<br />We are introduced to three characters, one of which who seems unusually excited and who we assume will play a larger part in the film. The story is told chronologically but as an overview of events that have already happened, allowing us to understand that we might not understand everything straight away as it is jumping straight into the action.<br />Todorov’s structure can be applied to this sequence, and we understand that we are at the “attempt to repair the damage” section of his theory as we know that there used to be equilibrium on Earth but something happened to change that. We are left wondering what the humans are going to do to the aliens.<br />V for Vendetta<br />Because of the voice-over dialogue in the background, we know that the main character we see is the villain of a legend – Guy Fawkes – although we are unsure whether he is the villain of the overall story. Because we know the identity of the character we then assume that the scene is taking place under the Houses of Parliament in London. There are very little characters around and the actions being taken are very secretive, so we know the genre is a thriller.<br />We are introduced to one character in particular; we can also focus on other characters shown such as the woman that is crying at Fawkes’ execution, but we know that the main character is the man from the beginning of the scene as the camera keeps going back to focus on him. The story is shown as being in a chronological order, although is being told from a past perspective.<br />Lévi-Strauss’ theory can be applied to this scene as there are two sides being shown to Guy Fawkes’ plan of treason – the idea that he is the villain (from visual footage, as he is being led to hang) and the idea that he is someone to be admired or look up to (from the audio, as the narrator talks about the person instead of what he aspired to do). We are left wondering how the narrator knows so much about this person (she claims to have ‘met’ him) and who she is.<br />Fight Club<br />We are unsure whether the man we see is the hero of the story, but we assume that the man holding the gun to his head is the villain. We cannot tell specifically where the story is set but can tell that it is in the late evening or very late at night, when not many people would be around – a common trait of thriller films.<br />We are introduced to two characters; one whose face we cannot see and another that we assume is the narrator and main character. The story is shown as being chronological, although at the end of the film which will possibly lead into an overview.<br />Barthes’ theory can be applied to this as the viewer has to make their own assumptions as to which character is in the right or the wrong; if the audience has seen the film before they have a better idea of who the characters are and how they have interacted with each other previously. We are left wondering who the man holding the gun is and what has happened for this scene to happen.<br />