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Narrative theory in relation to our film

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Narrative theory in relation to our film

  1. 1. Narrative TheoryLinks with after hours
  2. 2. Overview Of After Hours • Based on Don Walters a man with a fairly boring and mundane life who competes for the affection of a fellow teacher with Rick Stroker a seemingly perfect guy. Until one day he falls asleep whilst marking work and gets locked inside school overnight. After becoming stuck he decides to change his outlook on life due to an inspiring quote he finds whilst trying to sabotage his competitor. This sparks the idea within him that if he works to make his life fun and enjoyable it will be, and that being stuck In school is the perfect starting block for him to use.
  3. 3. Levi Strauss • The idea surrounding binary opposition is that each side of two opposites defines the other for example good vs evil. • An example of binary opposition within after hours is between the main character Don and his rival Rick. • They are opposites as Don is portrayed as quiet. introverted and to some extent unambitious in binary opposition to Rick who is portrayed as outgoing, loud, likeable and very obnoxious. • This opposition defines each side well as it becomes more apparent the main character is quite loveable and rick is somewhat dislikeable.
  4. 4. Todorov’s Equilibrium Don Walters wakes up, looks miserable and turns back over in bed: another day in the cycle of his miserable life. Next to his bed, he has a pile of printed out e-harmony, match.com and friend finder pages, with a note on top from his mother saying, ‘I thought these women looked suitable, have a look at them would you Don.’ He goes to the bathroom, gets ready and goes downstairs where his mother is making breakfast, ‘Don “Morning. Did you… Oh god you look a mess. Did you see the pile of matches next to your bed? I thought they’d be lovely to start a family with, you know you’ve really got to move on from your divorce… I always thought she was a bit of a (closes cupboard door) anyway…” Mother continues spiel, Don completely ignoring her and leaves the house. (Quick Edgar Wright style journey shots) Don makes his way to school. Ends on a shot of him placing money down for a tea at the café – ‘tea’s gone up to £1.80 now dear’ – looks in his wallet, doesn’t have enough. A voice behind him, ‘oh I’ll get it for you Don’ – Anna Flowers, the only teacher he gets along with in the school, he is grateful, but she is stood with Rick Stoker who is exactly the man Don’s mother wants him to be and, for that, he hates him. He makes an excuse to leave. On the way to his classroom, he sees a fight down the corridor and the kids separate when they see him. Makes it back to his desk (messy, loads of work, picture of basketball team, world globe…) The day passes by in a series of shots showing the various lessons he’s teaching: ‘turn to page 34 and make some notes’, ‘follow the instructions on the sheet’, ‘watch this clip’, ‘turn to page 89 and make notes.’… Finds a pile of work that he needs to mark before tomorrow because Ofsted are in. Looks at the clock, still marking at 17:00, still has a huge pile to finish. He is marking without looking at the work, just grading it …. His eyes begin to close and he falls asleep.
  5. 5. Todorov’s Disruption • Don wakes up to find that he is still in school at 8pm. Realizing what he has done, he panics and runs to the main doors, just in time to see that the caretaker is walking away from the school, with earphones in, having just locked up the building for the night. • (Off center close up shot of caretaker walking away from the school, accompanied by the diegetic music of what he’s listening to, whilst in the background, we can see Don banging on the glass doors, trying to get his attention.) • There is a moment of total dejection and anger. He attempts to get out of the building, shaking doors, yelling out of windows, trying his phone (which has run out of charge)… but finally he realizes that he is stuck in there. • (Shot looking into the school, with Don standing behind the blinds, connoting the cliché of school being like a prison.)
  6. 6. Todorov’s Recognition • Don is walking down the empty corridor and comes across a display board with a picture of Rick Stoker smiling magnificently whilst helping out on a charity trip for (under privileged families?). • He sits staring at the photograph, dwelling on how much he hates his life; the fact that all the kids he teaches are unenthusiastic halfwits, the fact that he is divorced, his mother’s pressures to be someone that he isn’t, the mundanity of his 9 to 5 lifestyle, his pathetic relationship with Anna Flowers and the fact that his colleagues that are so much more successful than him. • He begins to wonder what exactly Rick Stoker’s deal is. Why is he so sickly happy and successful? Where’s the man’s hang up… what’s he hiding? • On these thoughts, Don gets an idea: to look at the classified documents. • Whilst looking through the classified documents, Don comes across some files of the kids that he hates and is amused to find that they have embarrassing quirks: one kid has a bladder problem which makes him wee himself, one of the popular ‘lad’ kids was (found having sex with another boy in the changing rooms?) • Finally, he comes across Rick Stoker’s file and finds out that he used to be in the adult film industry: ‘Richard Stroker’. Deviously, Don plans to set Mr. Stoker’s desktop as a picture of him in the adult films, however the internet is down. • Sitting, annoyed, Don looks at the board in stoker’s classroom which has the remains of a previous lesson still scribbled on it. On the board, there is a quote from Ghandi: ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.’
  7. 7. Todorov’s Reparation Don thinks about the quote that he saw on Mr Stoker’s board and realizes that it’s he who is preventing his life from being fun and exciting. He is not trying to be happy. With this newly found understanding, he decides to try and have fun with his time locked in school. At first, he simply tries to throw a piece of paper into the bin. The use of ellipses shows that he fails several times and begins to get agitated, before finally throwing the ball of paper into the bin and feeling a sense of delight. Hung up on this feeling, he challenges himself by increasing the distance to the bin and repeatedly gets the paper in the bin. Don walks around school, somewhat pleased with himself, but then he sees something out of the corner of his eye and double-takes (camera fixed on his reaction only). The next shot is an extreme close up, cropping into Don’s eyes, showing that he is focussing on something much taller than him. We then cut to a slow motion shot of Don bouncing a basketball on the spot and then we cut to a panning shot to reveal the basket ball net. Shot in a highly dramatic way, Don pretends to be playing against his other colleagues, dodging them and taunting them, before finally scoring the basket. Jokingly, he acts as though the crowd are going wild around him and he laughs his pretence off.
  8. 8. Todorovs New Equilibrium • The action fades into a montage of ways in which Don finds ways to enjoy himself in the school: wheeling down corridors on chairs; making something in tech; stealing food from cafeteria; we realizes that he’s making a desk tidy to put his loose sheets and pens in; he organises his desk; marks the rest of the work; rolls his sleeves up; slackening tie; makes a bouquet of tissue paper flowers in art; places the flowers on Miss Flower’s desk; hesitation, deliberation, moves the flowers from the desk to the bin and back to the desk; writes a note to go with them… finally he sits back in his chair and looks around his classroom. It is tidy… his life is in order. • Fade to black. • School bell rings, fast cut to daylight. • Don wakes up startled by the noise and smiles. • Cut to black. • Credits • Fin.
  9. 9. Propp • Propp’s character roles denote separate category's that every story's characters fit within. E.g. hero, princess, false hero… • The hero (Don Walters): introverted but loveable he seeks to win miss flowers hand • The Princess (Miss Flowers): the perfect women for Don • The Villain (Rick Stroker): Dons opposite and competitor in just about everything. • The Donor/The dispatcher (The Caretaker): locks the school up early giving don the opportunity to get things in order
  10. 10. Roland Barthes: code theory • The symbolic code is the one which applies to our film the most, the symbolic code states that symbolism within the film is used on a broad scale to tell or suggest the plot of the story before it has finished. • One way in which our film incorporates this is through the quote on the board in the classroom which Don finds. It represents the fact that his problems could be solved through his own actions which is one of the overarching themes within after hours. • Another way in which the codes of Barthes are used within our film is through the metaphorical imprisonment of Don which then becomes literal imprisonment when he becomes trapped in the school.

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