Download pptx - Narrative theory

Page 1: Narrative theory



Theorist:Tim O’ Sullivan Bordwell and ThompsonFabula Syuzhet Pam CookTodorov Roland Barthes Adrian Tilley Kate Domaille Claude Levi-Strauss’ (1958)Michael Shaw (1984) Andrew Goodwin (1992) Sven Carlson

Page 2: Narrative theory

TLC- NO SCRUBS The music video I am analysing and applying narrative theorists to is ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC.

Page 3: Narrative theory


• Bulgarian literary theorist

• He was born on the 1st March

• He is a Bulgarian philosopher who wrote books and essays on literally theory and culture theory

• Published 21 books overall

Page 4: Narrative theory

TODOROV CONTINUED He simplified the idea of narrative theory all the while coming up a more complex interpretation of films with his theory of an equilibrium, disequilibrium and a resolution. His theory contains five stages:

1) A state of equilibrium

2) A disruption creating a disequilibrium

3) A recognition of the disorder that has occurred

4) An attempt to resolve the distribution caused

5) Resolution- creating a new equilibrium

These stages portray the fact that narrative doesn’t happen in a linear state but a circular structure. It also states that narrative is driven by events to restore the equilibrium. Todorov argued that the narrative transforms so that the characters or situations are altered through the process of the disruption.

Page 5: Narrative theory


BA CBordwell and Thompson (1997) noticed how the shots within a film could link in different ways. They identified four different relations between shots in the editing: 1) Graphic 2) Temporal3) Spatial4) Rhythmic

Page 6: Narrative theory

BORDWELL AND THOMPSON CONTINUED • offer two distinctions between story and plot which relate to the diegetic world of the

narrative that the audience are positioned to accept and that which the audience actually see. They based this on Russian film theory:

• Fabula (story) is all the events in the narrative that we see and infer. The fabula is defined as the chronological series of events that are represented or implied.

• Syuzhet (plot) everything visible and audibly present before us. Syuzhet is considered to be the order, manner and techniques of their presentation in the narrative .

Page 7: Narrative theory


• According to Pam Cook (1985), the standard Hollywood narrative structure should have:

• Linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution.

• A high degree of narrative closure.

• A fictional world that contains verisimilitude especially governed by spatial and temporal coherence.

Page 8: Narrative theory

BARTHES AND ADRIAN TILLEY • Barthes (1977) suggested that narrative works with five different codes and the enigma

code works to keep up setting problems or puzzles for the audience. His action code (a look, significant word, movement) is based on our cultural and stereotypical understanding of actions that act as a shorthand to advancing the narrative.

• Adrian Tilley (1991) used the buckling of the gun belt in the Western genre as a means of signifying the preferred reading of an imminent shoot out, and this works in the same way as the starting of a car engine etc.

Page 9: Narrative theory

KATE DOMAILLE • Kate Domaille (2001) every story ever told can be fitted into one of eight narrative types.

Each of these narrative types has a source, an original story upon which the others are based. These stories are as follows:

• Achilles: The fatal flaw that leads to the destruction of the previously flawless, or almost flawless, person, e.g. Superman, Fatal Attraction.

• Candide: The indomitable hero who cannot be put down, e.g. Indiana Jones, James Bond, Rocky etc.

• Cinderella: The dream comes true, e.g. Pretty Woman.

Page 10: Narrative theory

KATE DOMAILLE CONTINUED • Circe: The Chase, the spider and the fly, the innocent and the victim e.g. Smokey And

The Bandit, Duel, The Terminator.

• Faust: Selling your soul to the devil may bring riches but eventually your soul belongs to him, e.g. Bedazzled, Wall Street.

• Orpheus: The loss of something personal, the gift that is taken away, the tragedy of losss or the journey which follows the loss, e.g. The Sixth Sense, Love Story, Born On the Fourth Of July.

• Romeo And Juliet: The love story, e.g. Titanic.

• Tristan and Iseult: The love triangle, Man loves woman…unfortunately one or both of them are already spoken for, or a third party intervenes, e.g. Casablanca.

Page 11: Narrative theory

VLADIMIR PROPP • The Russian theorist Vladimir Propp (1928) studied the narrative structure of Russian Folk Tales.

• He also concluded that all the characters could be

• resolved into only 7 broad character types in the 100 tales he analysed.

The villain - struggles against the hero.

The donor - prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object.

The (magical) helper - helps the hero in the quest.

The princess and her father - gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished.

The dispatcher - character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.

The hero or victim/seeker hero - reacts to the donor, weds the princess.

[False hero] - takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.

Page 12: Narrative theory

JOSEPH CAMPBELL • Joseph Campbell’s (1949) influential work, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, developed

the idea of the ‘Universal Hero Monomyth’.

• Suggests that there is an underlying structure of iconography, themes, concepts and narrative structure that is common to the religions, myths and legends of almost every culture in the world.

• Both George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg were heavily influenced by Campbell’s theories and Star Wars conforms to Campbell’s model of the Monomyth almost

• exactly.

Page 13: Narrative theory

CLAUDE LEVI-STRAUSS• Claude Lèvi-Strauss’ (1958) ideas about narrative amount to the fact that he believed all

stories operated to certain clear Binary Opposites e.g. good vs. evil, black vs. white, rich vs. poor etc.

• The importance of these ideas is that essentially a complicated world is reduced to a simple either/or structure. Things are either right or wrong, good or bad. There is no in between.

Page 14: Narrative theory

MICHAEL SHORE• Michael Shore(1984) argues that music videos are:

• recycled styles … surface without substance …simulated experience … information overload … image and style scavengers … ambivalence … decadence … immediate gratification …vanity and the moment … image assaults and outré folks … the death of content …anesthetization of violence thorough chic …adolescent male fantasies … speed, power, girls and wealth … album art come to turgid life … classical storytelling’s motifs

Page 15: Narrative theory

ANDREW GOODWIN • Andrew Goodwin (1992) argues that in music video, “narrative relations are highly

complex” and meaning can be created from the individual audio-viewer’s musical personal musical taste to sophisticated intertextuality that uses multidiscursive phenomena of Western culture.

• Many are dominated by advertising references, film pastiche and reinforce the postmodern ‘re-use’ tradition.

Page 16: Narrative theory

SVEN CARLSSON • Sven Carlsson (1999) suggests that music videos in general, videos fall into two rough

groups: performance clips and conceptual clips.

• When a music video mostly shows an artist (or artists) singing or dancing, it is a performance clip.

• When the clip shows something else during its duration, often with artistic ambitions, it is a conceptual clip.

Page 17: Narrative theory

PERFORMANCE CLIPS • If a music video clip contains mostly filmed performance then it is a performance clip. A

performance clip is a video that shows the vocalist(s) in one or more settings.

• Common places to perform are the recording studio and the rehearsal room. But the performance can take place anywhere, from the bath tube to outer space. Walking down the street is another performance cliché, which is common in rap videos.

• The performance can be of three types:

• song performance, dance performance and

• instrumental performance. Almost every music video includes song performance.

• Some videos combines song and dance performances.

Page 18: Narrative theory

NARRATIVE CLIP AND ART CLIP • If a music video clip is most appropriately understood as a short silent movie to a musical

background, it is a narrative clip. A narrative clip contains a visual story that is easy to follow. A pure narrative clip contains no lip-synchronized singing.

Art clip: • If a music video clip contains no perceptible visual narrative and contains no lip

synchronized singing then it is a pure art clip. The main difference between a music video art clip and a contemporary artistic video is the music. While the music video uses popular music the artistic video uses more modern, experimental music, such as electro-acoustic music.

Page 19: Narrative theory
Page 20: Narrative theory

SVEN CARLSSON CONTINUED• Carlsson (1999) developed a mythical method of analysis of music video - centred on a

"modern mythic embodiment" .

• Viewed from this perspective the music video artist is seen as embodying one, or a combination of "modern mythic characters or forces" of which there are three general. The music video artist is representing different aspects of the free floating disparate universe of music video.

• In one type of performance, the performer is not a performer anymore, he or she is a materialization of the commercial exhibitionist.

• Another type of performance in the music video universe is that of the televised bard. He or she is a modern bard singing banal lyrics using television as a medium. The televised bard is a singing storyteller who uses actual on-screen images instead of inner, personal images. The greatest televised bards create audio-visual poetry.

Page 21: Narrative theory

SVEN CARLSSON CONTINUED • The third type of performer is the electronic shaman.

• Sometimes the shaman is invisible and it is only her or his voice and rhythm that anchor the visuals. He or she often shifts between multiple shapes.

• At one moment the electronic shaman animates dead objects or have a two-dimensional alter egos (as in cartoon comics), seconds later he or she is shifting through time and so on.