JCM312/Narrative Structure

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Classical Hollywood cinema

Television discusses seven principal characteristics of classical Hollywood cinema. Explain the terms below and discuss whether they apply to Day for Night.

  1. G1 and G5: Single protagonist
  2. G1 and G5: Exposition
  3. G2 and G6: Motivation
  4. G2 and G6: Narrative enigma
  5. G3: Cause-effect chain
    • G3: Story time versus screen time--in terms of duration and order
  6. G4: Climax
  7. G4: Resolution/Denouement--compare exposition and denouement

All groups: Does Day for Night qualify as a classical film? Why or why not? Explain how the characteristics above are (or are not) used in the film.

Day for Night: beginning and ending.[1]
First shot.
First shot (larger image).  
Final shot.
Final shot (larger image).  

Signs of character[1]

  1. Viewer foreknowledge
  2. Character name
  3. Appearance
  4. Objective correlative
  5. Dialogue
  6. Lighting and videography or cinematography
  7. Action

How are these signs of character used to construct the following characters in Day for Night?

  • G1 and G5: Alphonse
  • G2 and G6: Julie
  • G3: Ferrand
  • G4: Liliane
Day for Night Character Construction
Frame grab of Alphonse.
First close-up of Alphonse.  
Frame grab of Alphonse and Liliane.
Alphonse and Liliane in the hotel.  
Frame grab of Ferrand.
First close-up of Ferrand.  
Frame grab of Ferrand.
Ferrand discusses Julie's photos. See also, Ferrand's books.  
Frame grab of Julie's photograph.
First appearance of Julie, in a photograph.  
Frame grab of Julie.
Julie arrives, amid paparazzi.  

Signs of performance[1]

  1. G1 and G5: Vocal
  2. G2 and G6: Facial
  3. G3: Gestural
  4. G4: Corporeal

Day for Night cast


  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Dyer, Stars


  1. Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture, 5th Edition (New York: Routledge, 2018).
  2. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010).

External links

  1. Frame grabs from Day for Night.
  2. Wes Anderson American Express Commercial (Day for Night parody, password protected)
  3. TV Tropes: listing of numerous narrative conventions.