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Year 9 - Short Film & Tropfest - Part 1: Narrative

Teaching students how to analyse narrative in film

Shayne Travis Grieve

on 8 July 2013

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Transcript of Year 9 - Short Film & Tropfest - Part 1: Narrative

Analyse This!
teaching you how to understand film!!!
the following lessons are designed to show you all the basics (and not so basic) of film analysis. a skill you will find invaluable as your studies in FTV continue.
the plan
So firstly we need to teach you to use the terminology to discuss a film's style and narrative in order to construct an argument about an element(s) of the film.

So... let's get it started!
All feature films are narratives -
meaning they tell stories.

= the means by which the story within a film is structured and organised.

Studying narrative then means we are focusing on the way events are organised within a film to create meaning.

There is a
huge link
narrative and genre
and the conventions of both shape each other.

Eg: the generic conventions of romantic comedy, tell us that the narrative should lead the boy and the girl to finally get together at the end.
In pairs - Think of a genre and make notes on any elements of narrative that you consider to be attached to that genre.
narrative conventions allow different spaces and times to be organised in a
meaningful way.

a narrative should only include elements that are crucial to plot or
character development
. (btw - the time that is purposefully missed out is called

This creates a state of disequilibrium.
Along comes anti-equilibrium (problems, events, crooks, bad-guys) to destroy the equilibrium
In a narrative there's usually a period of equilibrium (all is well)
The attempted to return to a new state of peace.
Todorov's Theory of
Basic Narrative Structure

* Exposition
- introduces the setting and the characters to the film audience.

* Development
- storyline is developed and the audience meets more characters.

* Complication
- complicating events or characters that will adversely affect the lives of the main protagonist.

* Climax
- dramatic tension is at it’s height - all secrets, enigmas of previous action are revealed. This is often where good vs evil come to a head.

* Resolution
- the end of film. the sequence where stability is re-established and a form of calm has been restored.
When writing about narrative...
Demonstrate an awareness of how the narrative is constructed, DO NOT simply restate the plot/story. You need to be able to identify:
who is the
(the leading/main figure character)
what goal
motivates protagonist?
what are the
obstacles that create conflict
for the protagonist?
how does the protagonist
overcome those obstacles?
what is the
Short Film Exercise:
1. Watch
Jason Reitman's 'Gulp'
2. Using the
5 stages of narrative
described previously. Discuss what happens in each of these sections within the film.
PART 1: Narrative
Full transcript