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Transcript of Tzvetan Todorov
Todorov's historical interests have focused on such crucial issues as the conquest of The Americas and the Nazi and Stalinist concentration camps. Biography Todorov created a theory which proposed that all narratives contain five fundamental stages:
1. A state of equilibrium
2. A distribution of that order by an event
3. A recognition that the disorder has occurred
4. An attempt to repair the damage of the distribution
5. A return or restoration of a new equilibrium (not necessarily the same as the old system) Theory Relevance to Comedies Commonly in film trailers the only show the first two main stages that being the equilibrium and then the distribution and ending the trailer on a disruption. The trailers don't show the restoration/new equilibrium because otherwise it would be irrelevant for people to go and see the film. Due to the nature of the genre, the seriousness of the disruption can be diverse. For example, in Johnny English there is a distribution it is dealt with in a non serious manner. However Tropic Thunder which is also a comedy has a much more deadly disruption but again is dealt with in a similar humourous. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1634122/ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0942385/ Todorov's theory is contradicted in the genre of thrillers for example in the film Seven the trailer begins with an immediate disruption and the audience has to guess what the previous equilibrium was therefore Todorov's theory is not applicable in this case. Todorov's Theory applied to thrillers Another example that contradicts Todorov's theory is Taken 2 where it begins with a disruption then appears the equilibrium and then more disruption occurs, completely abandoning the triad idea of Todorov. This could be due to the fact that it is a sequel to the original Taken and therefore the disruption is just a continuous one from the last film. The reasoning also perhaps behind the starting disruption is perhaps an informed decision as though to engage the audience in the first instance and then show the equilibrium as the equilibrium could be per seen as "dull" or "boring". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114369/ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1397280/ Todorov's theory applied to horrors Similarly to the genre of thrillers, horrors also begin with a slight disruption, in order to engage the audience and to fully display it's genre, and then return to the equilibrium. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560985/ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397065/ The nature of a horror genre suggests that the context behind the action/fear is somewhat irrelevant although in a small trailer it is not of the utmost important in a horror film to have the equilibrium/context. This is evidenced in the films The Devil Inside and House of Wax, both of which start with high tensity and levels of action. Todorov's theory applied to sci-fi's Similarly to the genre of thrillers and horrors, sci-fi's can also begin with a slight disruption, in order to engage the audience and to fully display it's genre and in the case of science fiction the extensive use of technology in the images enhances this. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1446714/ http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2572394777/ Despite both being science fiction films Prometheus and The Cabin In The Woods have a contrasting style of trailers. For example Prometheus begins with a high powered intensity and then begins the equilibrium compared to The Cabin in The Woods begins quite serene and with an equilibrium (as to adhere to Todorov's theory). Todorov's theory applied to romantics In contrast to the previous genres, romantic films or rom/coms actually follow Todorov's structure as it is essential for the equilibrium to be disturbed fully and to understand the change, particularly in the characters themselves. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332280/ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/ This is evidenced in the films The Notebook and P.S I Love You, both of which start with an equilibrium and proceeds to a disruption. However in some instances this is not the case and the the trailer flicks from the equilibrium that we as the audience presume and new disruptions that occur, possibly to display the ever changing love the characters possess. equilibrium disruption renewed/restored equilibrium Todorov's theory applied to action Action films are generally expected to start with a disruption, due to the fact that the film is action based and therefore the main action appears in the disruption. Although this does not follow Todorov's theory it is a more plausible theory, this can be exampled in the action film Hancock.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448157/ However this theory is not applicable to all action films, for example in the war/action film Saving Private Ryan, the element of disruption is not as action based as in Hancock, and although three brothers have been killed it seems as though that is the equilibrium and that the fact one is still missing that that is the disruption.