How do films tell stories? Refer in detail to two films of your choice, which employ different narrative strategies and discuss some of the main techniques used by film makers.
The narrative strategy of a film can be constructed in different ways to tell the story of the film. This is done in different ways in the films "Mission Impossible 2" and "Run Lola Run". This essay aims to analyse the different narrative structures if both texts and the other techniques employed to communicate the narrative to the audience.
Firstly the text "Run Lola Run"; a bricolage film that uses a mix of styles and genres including thriller and romance, tells its story in an un-conventional way through non-linear narrative. This is shown as the film consists of three different stories of how the protagonist, Lola, has to obtain 100,000 marks for her boyfriend Manni. Each story begins with Lola replacing the receive of the phone after hearing Mannis plea for help, this symbolises the start of the twenty minute countdown she has before the money must be delivered to Mannis boss, thus the entire film plays with the narrative structure of cause/effect chain that is clearly identified as Lola makes different decisions resulting in different outcomes in each story.
Each of the three stories of how the money is obtained unfolds differently, and according to the theorist Vladimir Propp the characters act as different 'spheres of action' that are not gender specific and the actions and events or 'actions of functions' change the order in which they appear.
Each of the three stories begin with complication, where Manni acting as a dispatcher sends the hero, Lola, a character seeking something, on her way to find what is desired, the money that Manni needs. In the first story complication moves forward into transference as Lola arrives at her fathers bank where she is to fulfil her quest by asking him for money however her father acts as villain and blocks the hero's quest by denying her money. Therefore there is still complication; a state of disorder and Lola sets out to get back to Manni within the twenty minutes. When she reaches him there is transference where she is tested as Manni attempts to rob a store. Here Lola is un able to use a gun which is also a key to the narrative as in further stories she learns from this mistake and is able to complete future tasks successfully. During their time in the store struggle takes place as the state of disorder is resolved as the obtain money from the store, however after this Lola is killed and the first narrative ends in dis-equilibrium. The second story begins with the same complication with both Lola and Manni acting as the same 'spheres of action' however when Lola reaches the bank her father, still acting as villain, is overcome struggle between them and Lola successfully robs the bank and hero over comes villain. This results in the state of return as the task is accomplished however this again turns to a state of disorder as Lola discovers Manni has been killed in a road accident and the story again ends in dis-equilibrium. The third story also begins the same as the previous two however in this story Lola obtains the money, as does Manni. On her return to him Lola them acts as donor as when in and ambulance she appears to have magical properties as she steadies an injured mans heartbeat. This story then ends in enhanced equilibrium as Manni has been able to repay his boss and Lola has also obtained another 100,000 marks from the casino leaving them with the extra money.
During the film there is not much dialogue, but not much is needed as other techniques are used by the film makers in "Run Lola Run" to tell the story. Firstly three reoccurring motifs of a spiral, circle and heart appear. The spiral in the film represents the spiralling of the time on a clock, time is spiralling out of control for Lola on her quest to help Manni it is never stopping, this motif is seen as a cartoon Lola runs down a spiral stair case and Manni waits outside the 'spiral' club. The circle motif also represents the circles of time and how it is non-stop and never ending like the outline of a circle. The heart represents the beating of Lola's heart as she runs through the streets and this pulsing heightens her urgency and also the love aspect of the film between Lola and Manni and how their love drives Lola to help him in time. This is also reflected in the colour red that is used over the screen when Lola and Manni are in bed discussing their relationship.
The director Tykwer has also infused the soundtrack with non-stop techno music, diegetic and non-diegetic to enhance the films narrative. From the opening sequence to the end the music can be heard, this serves to heighten the sense of urgency that Lola is feeling throughout her quests as she runs through Berlin to help Manni. This modern music and the setting of Berlin, the capital of youth culture only enhances the film more making to more appealing to a youth considered the MTV generation.
However the second film "Mission Impossible 2" uses a different narrative structure. A Linear straight-forward narrative is used that is easier to follow. This appeals to some audiences more as a straight forward Hollywood block busters with a large budget appeals to many filmgoers.
This films uses typical 'spheres of action' the hero, Ethan Hunt how seeks to bring about the downfall of the villain, Sean Ambrose and recover the Chimera virus. Nyah Hall acts as villain at first as she is a thief but changes to princess and acts as a reward for the hero. The character Swanbeck acts as the dispatcher as he informs the hero of his mission and sends him on his way.
This films begins with equilibrium as the hero's is unaware of an situation involving the villain, however conflict breaks out when the virus is stolen causing dis-equilibrium through out the film struggle takes place where the hero's aim to rectify the situation and when matters are resolved there is enhanced equilibrium as the hero wins the princess and beats the villain.
The film also uses different techniques to tell its story such as the hierarchy of knowledge. By allowing the audience more knowledge than some characters the audience are able to tell some of the story before hand allowing them to solve narrative enigmas and become actively involved in the films story this also adds tension as it allows the audience to side with one character due to their knowledge.
In conclusion the two films have a different narrative structure, using linear and non linear narratives and they also use other techniques to tell the films story.