Books and Movies Reviews

Film Narrative in 21 Grams

Film Narrative in "21 Grams"
Narrative can be described as "a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space#." In'21 Grams', a movie directed by Alejandro I&ntildeárritu, the narrative tells the story of Christina Peck, Jack Jordan and Paul Rivers as their lives are all changed by a car crash that kills Christina's husband and two daughters. This essay will look at the relationship between plot and story, the relationship of cause and effect, Temporal relationships, and Narration in the narrative of'21 Grams' .
The Story (or Fabula) is "the set of all the events in a narrative, both the ones explicitly presented and those the viewer infers#". Whereas the Plot (or Syuzhet) is "everything visibly and audibly present in the film before us.#" The Story and Plot will, of course, overlap and yet also depart from each other in a number of respects. A diagram would therefore look like this:
In almost every movie therefore there will be events that we know of but do not see (for example sleeping, or going to the toilet), as well as sounds or other events that we as the audience see or hear that the characters do not. For example, we hear of Paul's Girlfriend Mary having an abortion, but we do not see the event on screen.
In the same way, yet ultimately more importantly we never actually see the most significant event in the story: the car crash. We hear the sounds of it, we see the after-effects, we hear the story of what happened from many characters points of view and we even see the dead bodies, but we never actually see the car hit Michael and his two children. The audience is left to construct the scene in their imagination. The spectator becomes an active participant in forming the story, perhaps emphasising the importance of a scene (as in the car crash of 21 grams) by causing the audience to pay attention to specific …


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