Movies “Film: Narrative and Genre”

Leap is a French based animated film about an 11-year-old girl Felicie Milliner (Elle Funning). Felicie is an orphan, and she has no money but has a big passion of becoming a choreographer. The poor girl sets her feet in Paris together with Victor (Nat Wolf) her best friend who dreams of becoming an inventor whereby they start the chasing their dreams. And it is there that she finds her way to her dream to become a dancer by first stealing the identity of Camille (Maddie Zieger) and the mentorship of Odette (Carly Rae)[1]. This essay consists of an analysis of some of the key scenes of the film to illustrate the limitations of POV/identification and demonstrate how spectator positions may be enough fluid and lead to a more enriching account of such narratives.

According to Cadwell the point of view consists of events and surrounding of a character in a story. It is usually driven by the first point of view of a character’s aim at the beginning of the scene this can be what he wants, what obstacles he encounters, whether he achieves the goal. In Leap, the opening scene starts with the camera showing around landscape surrounding the orphanage which is also by itself without any neighbours and then Felicie the main character comes upon the scene. Felicie aims to run away from the orphanage through the rooftop, but she is suddenly stopped by the voice of one of their guardians as he as he barks at Victor and several other boys asking where she is. Through this point of view, a spectator can engage with the narrative. In this case, one can ask himself if she will be able to escape from the orphanage or whether the angry guardian will catch her.

Some narratives also use multiple points of view approach, shifting from one Character’s POV to another to accomplish something.  In the scene, we are shown the point of view of Felicie, and as the scene progress, we see Victor who is her close friend. Victor, a lad among the boys asked where Felicie is, see’s her on the top of the roof, but he doesn’t tell[2]. In an engagement with the text, a viewer can tell from the shots that Victor is close to Felicie from his point of view. In the same scene shots of the angry guardian are also show as walks around the boys. These shots in the narrative are used to identify the viewer with the children’s experience in the orphanage.

There are different degrees of POV in that brings varying levels of subjectivity in identification for any shot in a film. The degrees are achieved by the manipulation of narrative logic, eye contact, and shot size as directed and also through editing. The levels determine how active or less a form of identification is to the spectator[3]. The narrative has some scenes of Felicie’s dream of the falling music box, the music box appears as the only image on the screen so that the viewer sees it the way the character see it. Another scene it is the scene here is jumps on a pool of water during her practise session and many more. In these scenes there is a stronger form of subjectivity in identification compared to other scenes of the film.

In Branigan’s theory of subjective narration POV plays an important role of identification to the spectator since it links the viewer directly to what is shown to the characters experience. The viewers see the actual situation and identify with what the character is seeing in the scene. He also says that there is nothing natural from about the point of view shot. The spectator must learn its elements and significance.

Branigan, Buckland says of the theory ‘Branigan does not explore in depth the idea that subjective narration which involves Point of view shot is not just telling ‘attribute to a character in the narrative ‘ but also ‘received by us as if e were in the situation of the character’[4].

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Nevertheless, the theory does contain the information that leads one to the conclusion that the point of view shot does create the strongest sense of identification. In the film leap e have multiple examples that proves the theory to be true, when Falicie watch her music box flying in the air when Camille throws it from the house, another scene is the scene whereby Camille’s mother is furious and angry with Felicia for stealing Camille’s identity at the opra. The dancing scenes also contain a series of the point of view shot as the girls perform choreography dance the camera moves around in different directions, and the spectator is to able to identify with the motion experienced by the dancing character in the narrative.

Since the feelings of spectators are not “analogous” to the interests and feelings of the characters, they may opt to or not to accept their views either of themselves or others. The position of spectators defers from the former sense of place: it is not related to the plot of the narrative, neither with the social status of the viewer. The point of view of a viewer is closely linked with the attitude of approval or disapproval and is very different from any critical viewing angle or character’s point of view.

In narratives, identification requires a spectator to connect between two points of view the camera and the character’s point of view. Being a powerful emotional process it raises the question of the account of the position of the viewer as centred at a single point or the core of any simple optical system. In the film ‘Leap’ the notion of identification to the spectator is established in two positions one i.e seeing and the one seen. However, the camera sequences do not hold a given kind of centre in character. In most of the shots of the film, the creator of the movie first shows around the scene before bringing in the body or eyes of Felicie, but it provides a centre of understanding to the spectator since it contains critical points within the constructed space of the film.

A spectator can identify with a character and share her point of view even if she lacks a light in the narrative. Due to the differences there in between structures of shots, views and identification, we can say that spectators do not identify with the camera but with the characters, and are therefore not influenced by the change in shots. The difference between the spectator’s point of view to the character is that their opinion is not stated by a single shot or by a multiple sets of shots from a given geographical location[5].

In analysing the feminist theory Lorraine Code says that some of the reasons and effects why feminist use narratives are so that they can create an identity, they can create a collective history, they can put into force a cultural critique and they can obtain alternative knowledge. Identification can occur in narratives through making up a cultural narrative which forms a person’s subjectivity and desires by promising to be completely content. Due to the notion that cultural authority is identified as men, women are unable to claim full artistic and narrative subjectivity through identification with power. So they use stories as a method of re-imagining their process of identification, revising and subverting the original plot[6].

Contrasting code’s take on the feminist theory with the film text “Leap” where we have Felicie, a young girl with the dream and passion for being become a dancer together with her close friend who dreams of becoming to become a famous inventor. Through the feminist view, we can see from the narrative, Felicie finds an essay away into the Oprah that in spite of her stepping in with the wrong foot. She is accommodated in the school whereas Victor falls into trouble from the very first day in the streets of Paris and his dream is viewed as a little dream compared to Felicie’s through narrative. The story tries to change the point of view of authority as the culture defines it. Therefore females tend to identify with Felicie experience to create the feeling of competence over their male counterparts.

Nevertheless, Gary Woodward says that ‘point of view is said to have two dimensions: the narrative and visual. The first constructs psychological and structural frame of reference. It gives us the knowledge of taking in the action and motives of some while rejecting the others. The second is useful as an example: the total sum of all the camera shots that tend to align with a sympathetic character. In the two dimensions, some characters are given empathy and information while others are not given’.[7]

Comparing our text film ‘Leap’ with Hitchcock’s films whereby the camera gives out information that allure the audiences into an uncomfortable position with little knowledge of the risks they face. To add, Psycho and Vertigo are also narratives told through the empathy of their characters. And to top, the least Rear Window goes to the extreme. The film based on the point of view of characters who are sympathetic victims and more also gives out knowledge to strengthen the subjectivity of the spectator.

Comparing Code views towards the feminist theory and Woodard’s view over the point of view in film narrative, both views provide factors that need to be present for a spectator to ‘identify’ with experiences in character or characters in a story. Though Code’s view point at one sex as per the feminist theory, still one can argue through Woodward that subjectivity in a narrative is not primarily based on one sex, but both masculine and feminine are eligible to identification. Though one may argue that the point of view shot merely shows what characters see. The factors presented above gives the notions that present themselves in the close shots.

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Work Sited

  1. A. Gary, ‘Subjectivity point of view and dreams’, The Knowledge Medium: Designing Effective Computer-based Learning Environments, Channel Islands, Information Science Publishing, 2002, p.160.
  2. Edward, B. Warren, ‘Point of View’ The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, New York , Taylor & Francis Group, 2015, p.373.

Woodward C. Gray, ‘Identification, Celebrity, and The Hollywood Film’ The Idea of  Identification, no. 1, New York, State University of  New York Press, 2003, p.57.

  1. Lorraine, ‘Feminists Use of Narratives’, Encyclopedia Feminist theories,  Lorreaine Code (ed), New York, Routledge, 2000.
  2. Thomas, ‘The Basic Rule’, Film Analysis Handbook; Essential Guide To Understanding, Analysing and writing on film, St Kilda Victoria, Insight Publications Pty Ltd, 2010 p.1.
  3. Guy, ‘Ballerina’ (‘Leap’), Film Review, [website], 2017, http//variety.com/2017/film/reviews/leap-review-ballerina.html, (accessed 6 June 2017).

[1] G. Lodge, Film Review: ‘Ballerina’ (‘Leap’), [website], 2017, http//variety.com/2017/film/reviews/leap-review-ballerina.html, (accessed 6 June 2017).

[2] T. Caldwell, ‘The Basic Rule’, Film Analysis Handbook; Essential Guide To Understanding, Analysing and writing on film, St Kilda Victoria, Insight Publications Pty Ltd, 2010 p.1.

[3] A. Berg, ‘Subjectivity point of view and dreams’, The Knowledge Medium: Designing Effective Computer-based Learning Environments, Channel Islands, Information Science Publishing, 2002, p.160.

[4] E. Branigan,  W. Buckland, ‘Point of View’ The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, New York , Taylor & Francis Group, 2015,   p.373.

[5] Edward Branigan, ‘The Point-of-View Shot’ in Bill Nichols (ed.), Movies and Methods, vol 2, Berkeley, Univ of California Press, 1985

 

 

[6] Lorraine Code, ‘Feminists Use of  Narratives’, Encyclopedia  Feminist theories,  Lorreaine Code (ed), New York, Routledge, 2000.

[7]Gary C. Woodward, ‘Identification, Celebrity, and The Hollywood Film’ The Idea of  Identification, no. 1, New York, State University of  New York Press, 2003, p.57.

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