The techniques of narrative in the cinema : our opinion on the book

The book, The narrative techniques of cinema is a very good tool for discovering processes of staging essential that allow filmmakers to give the style and dynamism to their movie, regardless of the genre and the theme. 100 techniques, each accompanied by an example of film, are discussed in a synthetic manner, and relevant.

What is it about ?

” I strive to always seek first the way in film to tell a story by the succession of plans and pieces of film between them. When you write a film, it is essential […] each time that it is possible, give preference to the visual on the dialog (…) In summary, we can say that the rectangle of the screen must be charged with emotion. ” Echoing these words of Alfred Hitchcock, this book presents 100 examples of the techniques proper film build the story of a film. From Metropolis to Kill Bill, excerpts from screenplays famous show you how to create characters, boost an action, giving all its strength to an intrigue by the work of framing, camera movements, light… The strength of this true reference guide to the use of script writers, directors, and all moviegoers is to provide a translation simple and effective, thanks in particular to the reproduction of very many frames, of al how the cinema produces meaning. And to demonstrate, through references both classical and contemporary, that a film is something other than ” photography of people talking “.

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Forms, scale of the plans and movements of the camera

Write literary way is not so difficult for a writer a minimum experienced. On the other hand, it is a whole other thing to transcribe the intentions of the paper to the image, and it is that fact that many writers are not filmmakers. The implementation stage requires a sense of aesthetics particularly well developed, but also many knowledge in contents of forms, geometry and image. The different processes discussed in the book allow you to explore all the important aspects of the staging and the image : the sense of movement in space, the composition, the image in the service of the narration, editing techniques, sounds, scale of plans, camera movements and lighting are in turn addressed in a straightforward manner, making this book a tool interesting for the novices and directors more experienced.

Example of technical narrative : Split screen

(book excerpt)

“The split screen or multi-image – this in a framework of two planes adjacent to each other. Just like the montage alterné, the split screen tends to accentuate the impression of simultaneity. Very much in fashion in the years 50 and 60, this effect was often used to show telephone conversations {…} If the split screen has also been used in the classic horror films, it does not, however, to any particular genre. Quentin Tarantino has given him a new life in Kill Bill vol 1.

Example film : Kill Bill vol 1

Having survived unexpectedly to a violent assault, Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) is in a coma on a hospital bed. An assassin is commissioned to finish the work.

At the time when the assassin, dressed as a nurse, walking towards the bed Uma Thurman, the film switches to split screen, and we see simultaneously Uma Thurman unconscious in his bed, and the assassin who is closer.

Value of drama : The split screen can show on the same screen two or more images. In this example, where the two images appear to touch, the split screen suggests that the physical proximity of the victim and of the murderer : it is a way to extend and intensify the suspense.”

And as a bonus, the extract from the sequence in question :

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