Quiz — The Sweet Hereafter
1) Mitchell, the attorney, gets stuck in a very unusual place
at the beginning of the film. What is this place?
1) The image that opens the film is of a sleeping couple
and their daughter. Name 1 of the 3 characters in this
shot.
3) Why does Nicole lie during her questioning at the end
of the movie?
4) How many people survived the bus crash?
5) What musical instrument does Nicole play?
NARRATIVE
Components of Narrative




1) Character(s)
2) Story
3) Plot
4) Narration
Story
Definition: The subject matter or raw material of the
narrative.
-Comprised of actions and events
Plot



The ordering of story events
Plot and Story are NOT synonymous.
Story is
 Sequential
 Larger

than the plot
Plot is a selection of events from the story.
 Example:
JFK
Narration



Definition: The perspective that “controls” the
presentation of characters and events.
The dominant attitude of the film.
Note: Narration and Voiceover are NOT the same
thing:
st
1


Person Narration
A character within the film motivates the
presentation of events.
Frequent indicator: voiceover narration.
 Example:
Taxi Driver
 Voiceover signals first-person without have to shoot in
first-person POV.
Omniscient vs. Restricted Narration

Omniscient: all-seeing, all-knowing [outside]
 Example:

Limited/restricted:
 Example:
Shawshank Redemption
Reflexive Narration

Movies that call attention to the narrative point-ofview
 Example:
Annie Hall; Pulp Fiction
Unreliable Narration

Narration is erroneous, lying, etc.
 We
trust that narration is accurate unless we are given
reason to believe otherwise.
 Examples: Fight Club, The Usual Suspects
Character Types

Distinguishing features that we immediately
recognize.
 The
“badass” (Rebel Without a Cause)
 The “loveable loser” (Seth Rogen)
 The Jock (any teen movie)

Films may play with our expectations of character
types.
Archetypes



An abstract, intentionally flat (not realistic)
character.
Designed to represent a specific ideal.
Example: The Cowboy
Stereotypes


When a character is reduced to a social, physical,
or cultural category.
Example: The “mammy” character
Character Development

Definition: the degree to which a character changes
mental, physical or social state over the course of a
film.
 Progressive
Character Development: improvement or
advancement.
 Regressive Character Development: loss or return to
previous state
Chronology


Linear order – from beginning to end in forward
movement.
Variations:
 Retrospective
Plot: Flashback as framing device; plot
then proceeds in order.
 Non-linear order: jumps between multiple time frames.
Classical Hollywood Narrative —
The Formula







1-2 goal-oriented protagonists
Narrative presents obstacles to goal achievement
Cause-effect logic
Deadline Structure
Two lines of action: a) Goal; b) Romantic
Clear character psychology
Definitive ending
Classical Structure





1) Stasis – everything is normal
2) Disruption/Crisis
3) Escalating Conflict
4) Climax
5) Denoument (“falling action”)
 Return
to stasis; what happened after
How have the characters developed?
Test Case






Goal-oriented
Protagonists
Deadline
Obstacles
Goal + Romance
Plot Summary
Consistent Psychology
Art Cinema Narration

Violates Classical norms
 Causality
 Narrative
ambiguity
 Self-conscious, reflexive
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Quiz * The Sweet Hereafter