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ENG 200 Syracuse Circumventing Culture & Film Constrains in Shower Scene Analysis

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Manufacturing Horror in Hitchcock’s Psycho
Schneider, Steven
Cineaction; 1999; 50; ProQuest
pg. 70
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Narrative Cinema
Stories on Screen
History of Film Narration – 1900-1920s
• Economic Leisure Time
• Screenplays
• Narrative Dialogue due to Sound
• 1907: screenwriters (scriptwriters)
• Screenplay (Script)
• Dialogue, action, settings, shots, transitions
History of Film Narration – 1927-1950
• Spoken dialogue allows for more intricate characters
• Classical Hollywood Narrative- developed in the 1930s and 1940s
• 1. Narratives focus on one or two central characters
• 2. These characters move forward a linear plot
• 3. The action develops according to realistic cause-and-effect logic
• Production Code adopted in 1930 by the MPPDA (Motion Picture
Producers and Distributors of America)
• Heavy censorship under the code
• Film narratives drawn from literary classics
• World War II
• Ends belief in clean, linear narratives as source of truth or realism
• Rejects happy endings which often consists of the union of the heterosexual couple
History of Film Narration – 1950s-1980s
Art Cinema in the Wake of WWII
• Questioned cultural values and
perspectives that came before the war
• Experimented with new narrative
• Subverted or overturned classical narrative
• Characters without goals or direction
• Seemingly illogical actions
• Surreal events
History of Film Narration – 1980s-Present
3 Frequent Contemporary Narratives
• Narrative Reflexivity
• Calls attention to how filmmakers tell a story, or how stories are a product of
certain narrative techniques and perspectives
• Films that Emulate Amusement Park Rides
• Recreate the physical and psychological thrills associated with roller coasters.
• Film as SPECTACLE!
• Elaborate Action Sequences
• Films Structured as Games
• The effects of video and digital gaming
• Disrupt linear plots
Develop from bodies on display and in motion to literary realism and psychological complexity.
Spectacle to Realism
Character Roles
• Central or Minor
• May fulfill character function
• Protagonist, antagonist, helper, etc.
• Characters drive the Action
• Characters often combine Ordinary and Extraordinary
Character Coherence
• Consistency in Behaviors, Emotions, and Thoughts
• Values: The character coheres in terms of one or more
abstract values
• Actions: The character acts out a logical relation between
their implied inner or mental life and visible actions
• Behaviors: The character reflects social or historical
assumptions about normal or abnormal behavior
Character Depth
• Depth: the pattern of psychological
and social features that distinguish
a character
• Rounded or Complex characters
approximate realistic human
• Unique
• They typically change and develop
• Static or Flat characters are bound to
particular (often singular) traits or
• They typically do not change or develop
• We value Uniqueness!
Character Type
• Defined by single or multiple traits
• Physical
• Psychological
• Social
• Often dependent on particular
formal elements
• Costuming/make-up
• Performance
Character Archetypes
Femme Fatale
A spiritual, psychological, or cultural model, expressing certain virtues,
values or timeless realities
Character Stereotypes
A reduction of an otherwise realistic character to a set of static traits
that identify the characters in terms of social, physical, or cultural
Simplifies and Standardizes perceptions that one group holds about
another group
Often created by a more numerous, powerful, or privileged group
Frequently based off one or more characteristics including
race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.
Character Type and Star Persona
Character Development
• A process of patterns that depict a character’s
shift from one mental, physical, or social state to
• 4 schemes of character development
• External Change
• Internal Change
• Progressive Development
• Regressive Development
• Some characters may progress in one area, but
regress in another
• i.e. get rich, but become cruel
• Story vs. Plot
• Story: “raw material” of a narrative
• Plot: way the narrative is arranged and presented
Plot: Three-Act Structure
Diegetic and Non-diegetic elements
• Diegesis – the world of the film (characters, places, events, etc.)
• It also involves our knowledge, as viewers, of the world of the film.
• In a film about a historical figure or event, we may know what is coming and
this can impact our views on the realism of the film’s diegetic world.
• Nondiegetic elements may include things like background
soundtracks when the music does not originate in the world of the
film. It can also including things like credits.
Narrative Patterns of Time
Linear Chronology
Nonlinear Plot Devices
Narrative Flashback
Narrative Flashforward
The Deadline Structure
Suspense and Anticipation
Parallel Plots
Narrative Duration
Narrative Frequency
Plot: Narrative Spaces
Historical Locations
Psychological Locations
Ideological Locations
Symbolic Space
Narrative Perspective
• Narrator – Character whose voice and perspective describe the action of a film
• Narration – Not tied to a single character! Or to verbal components.
• How the film organizes plot elements
• First Person Narrative
• Single character using voice-over
• Camera techniques and optical effects that mark individual perspective
• Narrative Frame
• “Story within a story”
Narrative Perspective – Third Person
Omniscient Narration
Presents all elements of the plot
Exceeds the perspective and knowledge of any one character
Restricted Narration
Knowledge is limited to that of a particular character
Emphasizes one or two characters
Narrative Variations
• Reflexive Narration
• Unreliable Narrator
• Multiple Narrations
• Compilation Films
Narrative Traditions
• Movies shape memory and make History
• Classical Film Narrative

One or more central characters
Cause-effect logic
Linear chronologies directed at certain goals
Omniscient or restricted narration suggest realism
3 part structure
• Situation or circumstance is presented
• The situation is disrupted
• The disruption is resolved
• Postclassical Narrative
• After WII
• Contain formerly taboo topics
• Narrative and formal techniques influenced by European cinema
Alternative Narrative Film
• Deviates from or challenges linearity
• Undermines of subverts:
• The centrality of main characters
• The continuation of the plot
• The verisimilitude of the narration
• Plots tend to break apart, omit cause-effect logic, or proliferate
beyond the classical parallel plot
Formal Elements of Film
• Mise-en-scène
• Cinematography
• Sound
• Genre

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