Classical Narrative Cinema Analysis

1689 Words7 Pages
With reference to Bordwell/Staiger/Thompson’s model of classical narrative cinema, examine whether D.W. Griffith’s short films (1910s) might be seen to fit the model in the areas of story construction; narration; character development; staging; performance.

In this essay I wish to examine whether the short films of D.W Griffith fit into the model of Classical Narrative Cinema presented by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kirstin Thompson. They examined how CNC developed through changes in acting, the constructing of a storyline, development of characters and staging to create a narrative based cinema. These changes were motivated by audience’s expectations of film. Therefore, filmmakers had to make changes in order to create a narrative cinema. As Thompson discusses “the classical cinema resulted from a major shift in assumptions about the relation of the spectator to film and the relation of a film’s form to its style” (158). This started the change of film from “primitive” cinema to “classical cinema” (157)(162). Films began to use these techniques in order to make “a unified narrative” and allow for the development of “verisimilitude” (158) (163). Their theories will be applied to three of Griffith’s films, The Lonedale Operator (1911), The New York Hat (1912) and A Mothering Heart (1913). I will examine how these factors in creating classical film can by applied to a filmmaker like Griffith and how Griffith’s films were part of the wider change in cinema that
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