Narrative theory - Ceren&Kerry


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Narrative theory - Ceren&Kerry

  1. 1. Narrative Theory By Kerry and Cezza K
  2. 2. • “Story is the irreducible substance of a story (A meets B, something happens, order returns) whilst narrative is the way the story is related (Once upon a time etc…)” – Key Concepts in Communication – Fiske el al • “In Media studies, looking at narrative structure implies that we explore the way in which the information is contained within a text that is revealed to us.” – Media Studies: The Essential Resource – Rayner, Wall & Kruger Narrative
  3. 3. Levi-Strauss • French anthropologist • Proposes narrative is presented through binary opposites • Opposite ideologies that when presented together have symbolic connotations • Good vs bad • Savage vs civilised • Strong vs weak • Ugly vs beautiful
  4. 4. Binary Opposites & Title Sequence • Particularly as our piece was of the horror genre, we incorporated binary opposites • Dark vs light : we contrasted dull, dark lighting of the dirty woods with the white wall that had childhood photographs to construct an uncomfortable, eerie atmostphere • We inferred good vs evil through by suggesting an evil presence in the film through the dark cinematography (visually dark and we burnt photos of children) and eerie music (we distorted a nursery rhyme) • Children could represent good/innocence; childhood photos being engulfed by flames is evil
  5. 5. Roland Barthes • French theorist • Proposed that texts were either open or closed, five narrative codes/devices 1) Proairetic/action – any action elements in narrative, resolution reached through action, used to build tension 2) Hermenuetic/Enigma – a part of the narrative that is unresolved, stimulates, pleases or frustrates the audience 3) Semantic code – a part of the narrative that connotes or suggests a certain meaning, inferred meaning 4) Symbolic code – uses opposites to demonstrate symbolism 5) Cultural – narrative in which the audience accept something to be true, i.e science and religion, everyday knowledge that cannot be challenged, culturally dominant
  6. 6. Roland Barthes & Title Sequence • Not all five codes can be applied to our product • The “Enigma” code applies the most: we purposely did not infer to any specific narrative elements but instead focused on communicating the genre through the visuals • The effect of this was to engage the audience and encourage them to watch the rest of our product • We referred to the enigma code through the use of dark cinematography – we employed shadows and dull lighting throughout to disorient the audience – and our choice of eerie music also contributed to this
  7. 7. Roland Barthes & Title Sequence • The symbolic code – relates to binary opposition • Also the semantic code: used symbols that had connotations of horror films • Infer a supernatural element of our film by detailing the elements of water, fire and earth. Similarly, we used a doll’s house to connote innocence so destroying it connoting the destruction of innocence • Action code – we ended our title sequence with the doll’s house being burnt to represent tension reaching its climax, could be seen as the resolution of our title sequence
  8. 8. Vladmir Propp • Analysed Russian folk tales in order to identify narrative structure • Focuses on characters and the structure they bring to narrative • The hero – a character who seeks something • The villain - who opposes or blocks the hero • The donor - who helps the hero by providing an object with magical properties • The dispatcher - sends the hero on his quest via a message • The false hero – disrupts the hero’s success by making false claims • The helper – aids the hero • The princess – reward for the hero and object of villain’s plot • The princess’ father - acts to reward the hero for his effort
  9. 9. Propp’s Narrative Theory & Title Sequence • We purposely opposed Propp’s narrative theory in our title sequence, no reference to a distinct narrative let alone character structures • The effect of this was to make the audience uncomfortable; no element of familiarity, goes against the hegemony of narrative • Felt it would be more effective to focus on visuals – dark cinematography/ mise-en-scene and eerie music
  10. 10. Todorov • Bulgarian essayist, proposes three-five stages of narrative, 1969 • Equilibrium, disruption, new equilibrium 1) Equilibrium – normality, in which the protagonists are comfortable/happy 2) Disruption – something occurs to disrupt the normal order 3) Recognition – the characters recognize that this disruption has occurred 4) Resolving – an attempt to repair or resolve this disruption 5) Restoration – either the previous equilibrium is restored or a NEW equilibrium is reinstated
  11. 11. Todorov • Can be applied to most films • Narratives do not need to be linear • The progression from initial equilibrium to restoration always involves a transformation • The middle period of narrative can depict actions that transgress everyday habits and routines
  12. 12. Todorov & title sequence • Again did not specifically reference these three/five stages as a means of disorienting the audience by remaining vague • Title sequence features the ‘disruption’ stage of Todorov’s theory • By contrasting childhood photos (innocence) with images of horror connotations, our product disrupted normality or an equilibrium • The effect of again is to make the audience uncomfortable and reflect the horror genre of our product