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On Jul 16,  1:43pm, NAME \Rich Washabaugh\ wrote:
> Subject: narrative vs. spectacle
>         I ralize that this is no doubt an old dichotomy to most of you, but
I'm
> taking a Film class for the first time and am just curious as to the
opinions
> of some people more experienced than I.
 
First thing I'd do, Rich, is nail down some definitions of "narratives" and
"spectacles".  I say this not to deter you from your research but to shed
light on the veritable cornucopia of meanings embedded in those two terms.
For "spectacle", perhaps the less onorous of the two, you could take a look
at Roland Barthes's _Mythologies_.  Though not a "film" text, this chunk of
lit. crit. is invaluable for strategies at looking at *any* text, film
included.  Barthes' notion of the spectacle is particularly intriguing (see
the chapter on wrestling if you're in a reading frenzy).
     If by "narrative" you mean "plot", you could have a boo at Derrida or
any other post-structuralist du jour.  I would urge you to examine the ways
in which "spectacle" is, to trope on Derrida, always already a *part* of the
narrative.  When a reader (or viewer) of a "text" comes upon what you call a
"narrative", perhaps certain codes of meaning are already present that
*require* spectacle to create meaning.  I think a good example would be _Pulp
Fiction_.  This film, none would argue (I hope), has oodles of spectacle in
it.  However, contrary to say _Stargate_, it's narrative structure is only
accentuated by this infusion of the spectacle.  (Though PF is not in the
genre you're looking at, it serves as an example).
     Lastly, look at "spectacle" as an instance of the carnivalesque (through
the theorist Mikhail Bahktin) and as a parade of madness (through Michel
Foucault).  Both of these instances of "spectacle" look at, for lack of a
better phrase, its social impact.
 
Happy Hunting
 
 
 
 
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R. Scott Burnham                         Ya never played baseball?
York University                          Well, come over here and let
North York, Canada                       me learn ya the game.
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]                          -Foghorn Leghorn
 
 
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