Narrative theory in our 1 miniute practise film
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative theory in our 1 miniute practise film
theory in our
What is narrative?
Narrative, or story, is a spoken or written
account of connected events.
Vladimir Propp was a Russian critic and literary theorist who’s research suggested that
characters have a narrative function in the text. Through his detailed research of over 100
folk tales in the 1920’s Propp proposed that there are 7 different character types. The first
being the ‘Hero’ who leads the narrative and becomes the narrative equilibrium through a
quest or solving a mystery. Although usually male, Hero’s can be of either gender. In our
mini-film Dave, a happy go lucky student is the hero. Within the film he has a ‘quest’ to make
his new academic year as energetic and fun as possible. The second character is known as
the ‘Villain’. The Villain seeks to obstruct the hero in completing they’re quest for riches, glory
and/or power. Occasionally it’s because they want to be the hero/heroine themselves. This
character concept is reflected in our mini-film when two bullies, Matt and Mr Girvan, seek to
ruin Dave (the Hero) day. The third character is the ‘Helper' who assists the Hero for part or
most of the quest but cannot complete it themselves. In our story no Helper is present. The
fourth character is the dispatcher who sends the hero on his way. This is ‘Dave’s’ dad who
takes him into school in the morning. The fifth character type is the donor who will assist the
hero in his quest by giving him/her important information or equipment. This will be reflected
in our mini-film when students in the corridor boost Dave’s moral by greeting and smiling at
him, although this reference is vague. The sixth character is the ‘Princess or prize’ whom the
hero will sought for as part of the narrative. It can come in the form of a person, object or
some form of social status/recognition. The final character concept is the ‘False-Hero’ who
either tries to take prize or credit for the hero’s actions. This will not be present in our mini
Todorov proposed that a film goes through 5 stages; the equilibrium, disequilibrium,
acknowledgement, rectification and then re-equilibrium. During our film all 5 stages are
represented, the opening scene features an excited Dave who’s ready for school. He then
encounters the school bully which offsets the tone of the film. This is then reinforced by him
being late to class and being told off. Later he see’s his friends who are happy to see him,
thus restoring the equilibrium when he leaves school happy again.
Barthes theory is focused around the significance of certain scenes, props, and sounds within
a medium. In our practice film we use a sound of a jail door slamming to symbolize that he's
now trapped in school whilst the teacher is angry at him. Our other example was with the
song choice of Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra. The upbeat nature of the song
represents the excitement and happiness of his first day back. However, once he is shouted
at the music stops which helps to emphasize the disequilibrium.
Levi-Strauss stated that within medium there are always sets of opposite values, he called this
concept Binary opposition. A classic example of Binary Opposition is the 'Good vs. Evil'
conflcit within the narrative. This theory is reflected within our practise film when an
opposition is shown between Dave's happyness and the sadness of the bully/classroom. The
secound example is the Student vs. Teacher opposition, Dave has more of a laid back
attitude to learning whereas Mr Girven is very strict and full on. Finally, the opposision of
freedom vs improsonment, when Dave is outside the school he is free to roam and talk to
whomever he wants where as in the classroom he's unable to leave and therefore becomes
detracted from everyday social interactions.
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