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Copy of Structuralism and Semiotics Film Theory

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Rhiannon Parker

on 5 June 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Structuralism and Semiotics Film Theory

Structuralism
and Semiotics

The Basics
Structuralism emphasizes how films convey meaning through use of codes and conventions.
Applying this theory to film is similar to analyzing the way language is used to construct meaning in communication.
In reference to the Kuleshov effect, films often convey meaning through the sequence of shots.
Semiotics is the study of signs, symbols, and signification.
meaning is created, not
what it is.
how
Semiotics can help us realize that "obvious" or universal assumptions are generated by the process of how signs operate in differing cultures.
Proposes that our actions and appearances all convey shared meaning and allow for analysis throughout the world.
Components of Semiotics
: composed of a signifier
and the signified
: the material form of the sign
: the concept it represents
Categories of Signs
: a sign that resembles the signified (a picture, map, etc.)
: a sign that doesn't resemble the signified; is purely conventional (a red traffic light, a national flag, etc.)
: a sign inherently connected existentially or causally to the signified (smoke signifies fire)
sign
signifier
signified
iconic
symbolic
indexical
Photography has an extremely iconic nature.
To overcome this in film, sequences of shots create a deeper meaning beyond just what a still picture could convey.
For example, when using a picture of a car film-makers strive to give it a deeper meaning and express more than is possible in photography.
In film, we're able to move between iconic, symbolic and indexical levels which allows us to process meaning on a much deeper level.
Structuralism claims that the nature of every element in film has no significance alone, but is determined by all the other elements involved.

Hunger is not literally conveyed in either picture; however, the juxtaposition of images conveys hunger to the audience.
"Definitions of Semiotic Terms." The University of Vermont. The University of Vermont. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. <http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/semiotics_and_ads/terminology.html>.
Zizek. "Drive-Through Film Theory." Film-north : Theory and Directing. Film-North, 2000. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. <http://afronord.tripod.com/theory.html>.
"Structuralist Film Theory." Enotes.com Reference. Enotes.com, 23 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/topic/Structuralist_film_theory>.
Remedial Reading Comprehension
IB Film Studies I
March 15, 2012

Gabby Degoede &
Mikayla Harmon
Chandler, Daniel. "Semiotics for Beginners." Aber.ac.uk. Aberystwyth University, 19 Feb. 2001. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. <http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem10.html>.
In film, interpretations of a sign can only exist when in relationship with other signs.
Uncovering the additional meaning in film can become very complex.
Many elements besides the picture are active in the understanding of a given sign or symbol, such as...
Lighting
Angle
Shot duration
Cultural context
Juxtaposition

Overall, Semiotics and Structuralism potentially provide critics with a unifying framework and a set of methods for signifying.
This film theory seeks to look beneath the surface of the observed in order to further discover what the underlying purpose is.
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