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Narrative Theory. The Goal Orientated Plot and narrative theory. Aims and Objectives. Critically review films and its narrative Apply narrative theory to your assignment Gather research to define narrative theory. What did we do last week?. Assignment 4.

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narrative theory

Narrative Theory

The Goal Orientated Plot and narrative theory

aims and objectives
Aims and Objectives
  • Critically review films and its narrative
  • Apply narrative theory to your assignment
  • Gather research to define narrative theory
assignment 4
Assignment 4

Write a textual analysis of a moving image product.


  • Critical Approaches: content analysis, semiotic analysis, structuralism
  • Genre: according to production technology, eg film, video, audio, print, digital; distribution method, eg television, cinema, radio, internet, CD, iPod, mobile phone, home computer, hand-held consoles; generic codes and conventions (content, style, symbolic, cultural, technical); changes over time, eg in audience, ideological shifts, re-definition, obsolescence, spoof, pastiche, parody
  • Narrative structures: narrative, eg single strand, multi-strand, closed, open, linear, non-linear; alternative narrative; enigma; climax; equilibrium
  • Representation: negative; positive; of social groups; of social issues; stereotyping; presence and absence
  • Due (27/06/12)
how to do this assignment
How to do this assignment?
  • Codes and conventions: define it, why so popular, what does the genre say about audience
  • Genre
  • Personal response to product
  • Narratives
  • Representational issues
  • Semiotics – structuralism
  • Binary Opposition
what is narrative
What is Narrative?
  • Narrative is defined as
  • “a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occuring in time”
  • (Bordwell & Thompson, Film Art, 1980)
  • The way that stories are told, how meaning is constructed to achieve the understanding of the audience.
  • In film, narrative is constructed through elements like camerawork, lighting, sound, mise-en-scene and editing.
  • Kill Bill – Kill Bill
  • The Hangover/2 – Find friend
  • Children of Men – Save the girl
  • Inglorious Basterds – Kill Hitler
  • The Bicycle Thieves – Replace the bicycle
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World – Defeat the evil ex’s
aristotle theory
Aristotle Theory
  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End
vladmir propp theory of characters
VladmirPropp theory of characters
  • Vladimir Propp’s theory was formed in the early twentieth Century.
  • 8 types of characters: the hero, the villain, the donor, the dispatcher (the messenger), the false hero, the helper, the princess and her father.
  • He did not state these characters were all separate people e.g. the provider could also be the helper.
  • There are only 8 different character types and only 31 things they ever do (makes stories predictable)
  • Todays film and TV: The hero, the villain and the damsel in distress.
apply propp s theory to star wars
Apply Propp’s theory to star wars

The hero – Luke Skywalker

The villain – Darth Vader

The donor – Obi Wan

The dispatcher – Obi Wan

The false hero – Darth Vader

The helper – Obi Wan

The princess - Leia

The father – Leia’s father

izetan todorov
  • Todorov suggested that conventional narratives are structured in five stages:

1. A state of equilibrium at the outset;

2. A disruption of the equilibrium by some action;

3. A recognition that there has been a disruption;

4. An attempt to repair the disruption;

5. A reinstatement of the equilibrium

allan cameron theory
Allan Cameron Theory
  • Anachronic – Flashback
  • Forking Paths – Contradictory narrative, alternative story
  • Episodic – a series of shorter stories that appear to be disconnected
  • Split Screen – screen split into two or more times to show separate events
guess the narrative techniques
Guess the Narrative techniques
levi strauss theory
Levi Strauss Theory
  • Binary Opposition
  • Narrative tension is based on opposition or conflict.
  • This can be as simple as two characters fighting, but more often functions at an ideological level – e.g., in Westerns, what do the cowboys and Indians each represent? What ideologies are embodied by the opposed sides in LOTR or Star Wars?
  • The Wickerman shows key elements of Binary Opposition