Archive for September, 2008

Annie Hall

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

In many ways Woody Allen’s Annie Hall represents a narrative text maleable to the format of television.  In this hour-and-a-half “episode” we are introduced to the character, and gently thrown into the dramatic world that the viewer suspects is Woody Allen’s life.  What makes this film seem episodic to me is the narrative perspective of Allen’s depressed character, leading his audeince into past, present and future events.  While  MTV’s The Real World had yet to be created, as a contemporary viewer I made numerous conscouious and subconscious connections to the show.  As Annie Hall begins in such a Real World confessional manner I remeber feeling a hieghtened sense of reality attached to the words Allen spoke.  As we know the film does in fact have a streak of reality in it, and a distinctly Woody Allen feel.  From this perspective than I beleive that Annie Hall could be turned into a T.V. show much like The Real World meets Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Every episode could have that classic confessional style shot with Woody narrating his crazy day/week/month and from their we cut into his wacky Larry David style adventures.  The first person narrative style of Annie Hall lends itself to the creation of a belivable, yet artistcally creative space as it allows for moments of “reality” as it appears to the world and “reality” as it appears to a single person within the  text.  With these two perspective accounted for the audeince is given a good sense of not only the actual events happening in a characters life, but also how that character feels and interprets these events.

Throwing out standards

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

This weeks reading in Me And You And Memento And Fargo presents and discusses the differences in conventional screenplay writing and independent (experimental) screen writing. Murphy seems to present standards and practices of making a commercially viable script as rules one needs to know in order to break. Murphy along with director Gus Van Sant seem to support the abandonment of traditional screenplays as a method of gaining more freedom in the shooting process. Improvisation becomes the key to director such as Gus Van Sant as he crafts organic conversations on set rather than in print. A traditional film, as most of us know, is a confluence of images and words. And, traditionally speaking, these images are constructed in writing form first than materialized on screen through the directors eye. Likewise, dialogue is imagined first in the writer mind than performed through the directors vision. Murphy highlights the transformation writing must go through to reach the screen as he discusses the possible ways a films author could and should go about constructing narrative. It is this transformation of words to images that most interests me about Murphy’s book. Is writing the best tool to use in the construction of a world dominated entirely by images? If screenplays are becoming old hat, or without substance could it be because writing is not inertly compatible with the creation of images? Murphy and Gus both support bending the rules of traditional screenplay writing in order to create something unique and compelling. Is this a simple admission that to create a compelling film (not story) one may need a general outline documented in writing form but a far more comprehensive idea of images and relationships that can only be communicated using other images ect…?

Story, Narrative, Plot

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The distinction between the “story world” and the narrative process it undergoes to become an understandable discourse was confused for me at the end of Tuesday’s class. My confusion stemmed from our in class discussion of  the reality of Fight Club’s “story world” and the reality of its ” plot/ discourse” as a film. The example of Brad Pitt fighting himself in Fight Club’s discourse rather than “story world” remains the central component of discussion confusing me. If what we see in the discourse is not in fact true in the “story world” why do we see it? I understand that in the reality of the Fight Club’s world Brad Pitt’s character is not actually fighting Edward Norton’s character because Brad Pitt is a manifestation of Norton’s mind. Yet, as a manifestation of a character’s mind why is he not real in the story world as well as the discourse? It seems to me that a character’s hallucination is both real and relevant to the story world that Fight Club’s director presents us with. I may be a victim of believing everything I see on screen, but, what more do we have to work with in the medium of film? The images and sounds of a film are the only tools we have in discerning meaning and gaining understanding. While a hallucination may not be real in the sense that others cannot witness it, it is just as relevant and real to the character experiencing it.  The narration of Fight Club, how the director choose to show us the story world, is so based around the existence of this physical embodiment or  hallucination of an ideal man that it would be a disservice to the story world that he pulls from to say that this character does not in fact exist.  It seems within this definition of “story world” those things that are not  physically permanent are considered not real.  Thus, it seems the narration and plot of Fight Club create the physical embodiment of Tyler Durden’s mental creation in order that we may understand his character better. This troubles me though because it seems that without twisting and manipulating the “story world” Norton’s character would not have existed in the same proportion or manner. So why is it relevant to discuss the “story world” as opposed to what actually happens in the plot?

Hello world!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

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