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Story. This chapter describes the various ways to tell a story and the importance of considering from whose perspective the story is told. This type of analysis is close to a literary critique of a work It studies the “how”s of a film how the story works

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This chapter describes the various ways to tell a story and the importance of considering from whose perspective the story is told.

  • This type of analysis is close to a literary critique of a work
  • It studies the “how”s of a film
    • how the story works
    • how we make sense of the raw materials of the story
    • how we fit the parts of a film into a coherent whole

It studies the genres and styles of film

In Fatal Attraction, directed by Adrian Lyne, the story follows a classical narrative structure but uses a style similar to that of horror films

The narration seems to unfold by itself, although we follow a focal character, played by Michael Douglas, through most of the film

horror conventions
Horror Conventions
  • Point of view shots are common, from both the attacker’s and the victim’s perspectives
  • Low angles are used often to make events seem overpowering
  • Colors are often dark, hinting at an evil or mysterious presence
difference between drama and fiction
Difference Between Drama and Fiction
  • A main difference between drama and fiction is that in drama, the action must be carried out largely by the dialogue and actions of the characters. In fiction, this can be helped along by the narrative point of view.
similarities between drama and fiction
Similarities Between Drama and Fiction
  • There are a number of similarities between drama and fiction:
    • The settings are equally important and likely to be equally symbolic.
    • Characters will have the same general functions
      • In a play, the main character is the protagonist, while the character who opposes the protagonist is the antagonist
      • The characters will have motivation, or an incentive or reason for their behavior
      • Sometimes the characters will have a flaw or defect, called hamartia, and that defect will often lead to the character’s downfall.
similarities continued
Similarities, continued
  • Dramas, like works of fiction, will rely heavily on plot to communicate the story and theme.
    • The common pattern of most dramas is depicted in Freytag’s Pyramid, below
freytag s pyramid
Freytag’s Pyramid
  • A German critic, Gustave Freytag, derived his pyramid from Aristotle’s concept of unity.
    • Basically, a plot will present a problem or conflict that will need to be resolved by its end.
    • The play provides the audience with needed information in the beginning of the play, generally called exposition, and then increase the dramatic tension with various plot complications.
    • As the action rises to its climax, the point of highest tension, the audience anticipates the resolution.
another version of the pyramid
Another Version of the Pyramid
  • Barbara F. McManus, professor of classics emerita at the College of New Rochelle, has created an alternate diagram of the pyramid.
questions for analyzing a plot understanding movies pages 332 337
Questions for Analyzing a Plot (Understanding Movies, pages 332-337)
  • What does the exposition include?
  • What are the rising plot points or twists?
  • What, where, or when is the climax?
  • How does the film get resolved? Is that resolution satisfying to viewers? Why or why not?
the four cycles of genres
The Four Cycles of Genres
  • Primitive
    • This phase is usually naïve, though powerful in its emotional impact
  • Classical
    • This embodies such classical ideas as balance, richness, and poise. The audience knows what to expect.
  • Revisionist
    • This is more symbolic, ambiguous, and less certain in its values. This tends to be stylistically complex and create irony when contrasted to audience’s expectations.
  • Parodic
    • This phase mocks the original films of the genre outright, often for comic effect.
the genres of robin hood
The Genres of Robin Hood
  • Primitive: Robin Hood was produced in 1912, in 1913, and then in 1922 by and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (on right)
  • Classical: The Adventures of Robin Hood was produced in 1938, starring Errol Flynn (below).
Revisionist: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was Kevin Costner’s 1991 film on the English hero.
  • Parodic: Robin Hood: Men in Tights was Mel Brooks’s 1993 answer to the Costner film.