Sunday, 8 January 2012

What Is Narrative Film Definition?

Narrative film

A narrative movie uses a story as its main motivation. Since the birth of cinema, narrative has been the
driving force of the film industry, to the extent that other forms are described by how much or how
little they address narrative. It evolved largely from the dominance of literary media in culture and
borrows hugely from literature in the way stories are told, even down to the use of cutaways in editing.
But as a primarily visual medium, film has other possibilities and many filmmakers have tempered the
dominance of plot and increased the use of visual signs and symbols to develop the themes and meanings
of a film, such as Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky.

Within narrative film there have arisen many conventions about how you tell a story. Largely due to the
need to agree a common code with the viewing public which can be applied to each and every film, there
are certain ways of shooting and editing that will disguise the actual process of filmmaking and draw
attention only to the plot and the characters within it. Thus, film becomes a true escapist experience.
If you work with stories today, however, you need to possess some detailed knowledge of these
conventions as if they are a set of signs that an increasingly knowing audience is going to decipher.
This means that you can subvert conventions and can mix signs from different formsbut all the
time you have to be aware of where you stand within the wider framework of narrative film. Audiences develop their awareness of these signs in narrative film simply by seeing lots of films, so as a
filmmaker you are equally able to read the signs and then perhaps make up your own.

Narrative film may be the established dominant mode, but entering this area doesn’t mean you have to
follow film trends, making cliché-ridden films that only emulate other directors. Certainly this may be
true within the profit-driven industry of Hollywood, but there are numerous directors who follow their
own path by turning narrative into something that is their own.

The short movie

In the last chapter we heard about how short movies (average 10 minutes in length or less) have had
something of a comeback as the new filmmaker’s school. Almost all filmmakers have made several
before going on to make successful features, the shorts serving as a place to try out ideas, road-test
stories, and develop style and exercise conventions. The quick pace of short movie production also
helps build confidence, as you can make one with very few resources or little time.

The micro-short

This development of the narrative movie is relatively new, resulting from the need for shorter-than-short
movies that download fast over the Internet or to phones. The particular constraints of movies lasting less
than a minute are invigorating, helping you to develop faster as a filmmaker. Straight narrative sits as easily
as abstract movies in this form, although many narrative versions tend to be more successful because
of the startling way they compress conventional storytelling into small spaces – temporally and spatially.

My kind of people?

The narrative filmmaker obsesses about films to the degree that relationships end (and start) over top
ten lists of movies. For their own work, they ride a wave of adrenaline, enjoy stress (‘I actually feel
stressed now if I am not stressed, without anything to do.’ James Sharpe, filmmaker) and stop at nothing
to get a film made. Theirs is a guerrilla world where night-time raids are made to scale the walls of
mainstream cinema, funded by credit card. Organized and skilled, they survive on little sleep but are
sustained through their strong – and deserved – sense of their own talent
Weblink Annual competition for micro-shorts.


  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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