Outside

imminentpoppedAI and Robotics

Feb 23, 2014 (3 years and 3 months ago)

57 views

The outsider

Antonio Santangelo


University of Torino

Cultural models that influence contemporary cinema

Narration and conception of reality

In semiotics, we use to say
narration
is one of the main bases of our way to
conceive reality
.

Greimas, referring to Tesniere’s studies (1959), states that
every text is
narrative
, no matter which genre it belongs to, because
language is narrative
.

Language, in fact, and the sentences we use to define what’s going on around us,
are the
theatre of the short story

of a subject who makes or suffer
actions
,
that have consequences; or the place for the description of a
state

of relations
between the subject and objects or other subjects that surround him.

Some say that language is narrative, because we learn narrative codes
before

any other code. Even before learning to speak.


As far as language is one of the most important
tools for our cognition of reality, narration is very
important for a
sociosemiotics
, because it
contributes to create our
socially shared vision of
reality
.

Linking things and creating an order

The main way to
link things and facts through a narrative pattern

is
declaring the existence of some
cause


effect logics

between them.

This definition of a narrative scheme is common to
Propp’s model
, Bremond’s,
Chatman’s, Barthes’ and Greimas’ canonic model.

Lévi
-
Strauss

goes beyond, adfirming that a narrative model can even work with
different logics
: analogy, opposition, transformation, disjunction.

Narration, to the french anthropologist, is simply a way to
link signs in patterns
,
creating an order he defines as the “
grammar
” of a story.

A mirror of culture grammars

My hypothesis is that the
semiosphere

in which the movies get their meaning
(expecially the
commercial blockbuster movies
), works like the the
myths

semiosphere, described by Lévi
-
Strauss.

As it happens in this semiosphere, the
narrative grammars

our culture uses to
read reality and to create its pertinence are
mirrored in the movies structures
,
so that people can watch from the outside their own way of thinking.

The sociosemiotics researcher has to find out the most important
cultural
models

that give form and meaning to the movies, following the idea that those
models don’t give birth only to movies, but also to many other texts, actions and
convictions, that are the basis of our way to live together.

Semiotic structures behind narrative texts

Looking from a narrative point of view, the semiotic structures that are the basis
of narrative texts like movies are not always visible on their
surface
.

Sometimes a way to shoot, to sonorize or to edit a movie is meaningful, because
it transmits a precise idea of how the objects that stand in front of a camera have
to be framed and linked.

Many other times (and the case of commercial blockbuster movies is often like
this) the
perceivable surface

of a movie is not pertinent, for a sociosemiotics
analysis of its cultural models.

Greimas

describes this situation with the different
layers

of his sense generation
model, when he says that everything begins with a configuration of values, that
are connected step by step with narrative roles, themes and figures.

In his opinion, the
manifestation layer

of a narrative text is
not part of its narrative structure, and the demonstration is
that the same story can be told, without changing, through
different media.

Today we know the
intersemiotic translations

create a lot
of problems, because of the meaning the manifestation codes
gain in a culture, but in my analysis I’ll mainly follow Greimas
theories, because they well fit my analysis objects.

Finding the meaning of grammars

Text

Net of
Texts

Semiotic
models

Confirms from
everyday life

Grammar and cultural models behind the pirates

vs

Propp’s model and initiation rites

Sanctioner
role

Outside

Inside

Inside

+

+/
-

-

Refusing your society values

Inside

-

Outside

+

The couple’s nest

vs

Inside

-

Inside

-

Outside

+

Outside

Stillness and lack of sense

Inside

-

Outside

+

No couple

Living together in a hostile world

Inside

-

Outside

-

Moving together

The distrust of the fathers

Road to Perdition

Inside

-

Outside

+

The individualistic outsider

Moving alone

Exploiting the
institutions

Pure desire

Inside

Outside

He knows the
logics of everyboy

The value of a pirate

Is it a pertinent cultural model?

Les passions tristes, 2003

La costituzione ai tempi della
democrazia autoritaria, La
Repubblica, 22/7/08