Final sequence - Dark Summer

Preliminary Exercise

Sunday, November 8, 2009

DYM Applying Barthe's Theory

Roland Barthes wrote an essay called S/Z, in it he identified a number of codes (set of rules) which he proposed are linked together in the production of all kinds of stories.  Therefore, he postulated that all stories used the same 5 codes and that all genre signifiers can be grouped under them to create narrative.  These codes are:

1. Action Code
Depicts the events which take place in the narrative - the who, where, when of the story.  Action codes are sequential.

2. Semantic Code
Refers to character and characterization.  The actions in the story are explained by the character's view point on events.

3. Enigma Code
Involves the setting up of a mystery, it's developed and resolution.

4. Referential Code
Involves explaining or informing.  Mise-en-scene is a referential code.

5. Symbolic Code
Involves the reading of the connotations of signs which transforms them into symbolic representations eg. a character can symbolize bravery.

Applying Barthe's Theory to opening of 'Rear Window'
1. Action Code
A man wakes up an apartment and answers a phone call from his boss, we guess he is the main character.  There are other people we see, a man shaving across the road, a couple wake up on a balcony with their bed there and a woman dances in another apartment.

2. Semantic Code
We see the film from the main character’s point of view.  He is in a wheelchair.  He keeps looking across the road to women dancing in her underwear. 

3. Enigma Code
Why is the man in a wheelchair? What is the job his boss wanted him to do? Why are people sleeping on their balconies? Why does he have so many magazines/photo’s?

4. Referential Code
The film is directed by Alfred Hitchcock which creates big expectations and a typical storyline the audience would expect.

5. Symbolic Code
The cast and wheelchair symbolise the fact he can’t walk.  As he is trapped in his apartment because of his broken leg, we see that he can see everything from his window which suggests he may see something he doesn't want to see.

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