The Classic Hollywood Narrative Style
- A style determines how the film is organized with the elements of story, sets, scenes, shots, sound.
- central themes: corporate conspiracy, inability of man to control reality, threat of disaster, investigative media necessary; Hollywood is not simply escapist or exploitative, but responds to and uses social themes and events to construct a narrative.
- A plot is the sequence of actions in chronological order.
- A story is the narrative, or cause-and-effect chain of events, sometimes unseen and able to change time and space.
- parallel structure of illusion and truth/on-air monitor and preview monitor/observation room and control room/media and power complex
- A character has certain traits and reacts to certain situations as an agent of action and decision.
- Kimberly Wells and Jack Godell want to tell the public the truth, are not helpless victims or anti-heroes
- A protagonist is the central character, active, goal-oriented, positive motivations. The antagonist is in conflict with the central character's effort to solve a problem.
- Kimberly vs. TV station owner Jacovich/Jack vs. board chaiman McCormack
- A story must have resolution, an ending, closure for characters and situations.
- Jack takes gun, seizes control room, is killed/ Kimberly tells her subjective viewpoint in tears; the truth is not objective but in her feelings
- Editing is the physical rearrangement of frames of film and the adding of effects such as sound
- Jack and Hector's car chases
- Continuity is the arrangement of shots to tell a consistent story.
- cross-cutting around NRC hearing
- Genre is a standard formula for a particular kind of story.
- political thriller genre, based on cultural fears
- Auteur is the filmmaker.
- James Bridges, Mike Gray, George Jenkins
- Mis-en-scene is the arrangement of space, to "place on stage" the characters, props, lighting.
- spacious well-lit control room/crowded dark watering hole
- Chiaroscuro is the range of lighting from dark to bright.
- the dark TV studio, the dark chasm of steam pipes in power plant
- Montage is the arrangement of images for effect.
- Jack looks for the truth deep inside the caverns of the containment building; Kimberly comes home to her empty apartment at the end of the day
- Metaphor is a symbolic construction
- KLAX or KXLA, wall signs FBI and RAP (Richard Adams Productions); Hollywood films construct metaphors to expose and calrify and define issues and events and crises that appear at random in the real world, causing confusion and fear.
revised 2/9/01 | China Syndrome | Filmnotes