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Fictional and dramatic elements

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1 Fictional and dramatic elements
Unit 2

2 Film Analysis and literary analysis
Films are stories! They share many of the same elements that a short story would possess However, film depends mostly on visual and other nonverbal elements

3 a good story is unified in plot...
the plot should contribute to the theme focuses on a single thread of continuous action one event leads to another naturally and logically

4 Episodic plot when the focus is on a unique character events that bear no direct relationship to each other helps understand the character being developed

5 A good story is credible...
Externally Observable Truths: The way things really are evidence of the world around us ex: Rain Man or Hotel Rwanda Hotel Rwanda trailer

6 Internal Truths of Human Nature: The way things are supposed to be.
fairy-tale or happily-ever-after ending good guy always wins and true love conquers all poetic justice: virtue will be rewarded and evil punished ex: Ever After and Pirates of the Caribbean Ever After trailer

7 Artistic Semblance of Truth: The way things were and never will be
imaginary worlds, fantastic environments, another time, or unusual characters provides a new set of ground rules by which we judge reality Ex: Fifth Element or Men in Black The Fifth Element trailer

8 A good story is interesting...
it must capture and hold our interest for a set amount of time suspense- excite our curiosity or tempt us with unanswered questions action- either external (The Last of the Mohicans) or internal which may be psychological or emotional The Last of the Mohicans trailer

9 A good story is simple & complex
must be easy enough for most viewers to follow but must be complex to keep the interest of viewers that do not like an easy script a surprise ending works great when the plot prepares us for it (The Sixth Sense) but the viewer should gain insight a tough balance between too simple and too complex The Sixth Sense trailer

10 A good story is not too emotional
some viewers reject sentimental films that are too over the top (The Bridges of Madison County or Nights in Rodanthe) emotional material is best kept understated (To Kill a Mockingbird) the musical score can communicate emotions Nights in Rodanthe trailer

11 dramatic structure Linear or chronological structure
each story has a definite beginning and ending uses exposition, conflict, climax, and conclusion in a logical way ex: The Ice Princess

12 Nonlinear Structure story elements are not arranged chronologically stories can begin in media res which is Latin for “in the middle” flashbacks- exposition is built up throughout the story instead of just at the beginning building interest (Casablanca) flashforward- jumps from the present into the future

13 Conflict the mainspring of the story has a high degree of complexity
external- struggles between characters or outside forces (Cast Away or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) internal- psychological conflict within the central character (Donnie Darko or A Beautiful Mind) Donnie Darko trailer

14 Characterization “You can only involve an audience with people. You can’t involve them with gimmicks, with sunsets, with hand-held cameras, zoom shots, or anything else. They couldn’t care less about those things. But you give them something to worry about, some person they can worry about, and care about, and you’ve got them, you’ve got them involved.” Frank Capra, Director

15 Through appearance... We make assumptions about characters based on their facial features, dress, physical build, and mannerisms. Erin Brockovich trailer

16 Through dialogue... We learn a great deal about characters based on what they say and how they say it

17 Through action... External/Internal Action
The best reflections of character are a person’s actions There is a clear relationship between a character and his/her actions Inner action occurs within characters’ minds and emotions (daydreams, thoughts, aspirations, memories, fears, fantasies) What Dreams May Come trailer

18 Through Contrast... Dramatic foils- contrasting characters whose behavior, attitudes, opinions, lifestyle, physical appearance, are the opposite of the main character Billy Budd trailer Notice how Billy and the Master of Arms contrast each other in appearance and voice.

19 Through caricature... caricature- exaggerate or distort one or more dominant features or personality traits This could be voices or appearances (Homer Simpson’s voice and “chubbiness” :) The Simpsons clip

20 Through leitmotif... leitmotif- repetition of a single action, phrase, or idea by a character until it becomes almost a trademark or theme song for that character Example Clint Eastwood in Blood Work continuously grabs his chest because of a heart transplant...he plays a tough- but-aging her and displays vulnerability

21 Types of characters Stock characters- minor characters whose actions are predictable Developing characters- major characters affected by the plot; undergo some sort of change (Rick in Casablanca and the Duchess in The Illusionist) Static characters- remain the same throughout the film (the Prince in The Illusionist and Laszlo in Casablanca)

22 Flat vs. round Flat characters- two-dimensional, predictable who lack complexity (the brother in Field of Dreams) Round characters- three-dimensional who are unique, individualistic with some degree of complexity and ambiguity (Kim in Edward Scissorhands)

23 Allegory a story in which every object, event, and person has an abstract meaning The Crucible and High Noon- The McCarthy hearings Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm- how power corrupts

24 Symbolism Symbol- something that stands for something else
Can be charged by repetition, value, context, special visual emphasis Universal symbols- the cross (Christianity) and the flag (patriotism)

25 Irony Irony- linking of opposites
Dramatic irony- the filmmaker provides the audience with information that a character lacks We all know Abigail is lying but the rest of the characters do not in The Crucible We know that Bruce Wayne is Batman in The Dark Knight but no one else does :) Dark Knight Trailer

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