narrative theory case study
Post on 16-Apr-2017
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UK indie rock quartet Alt-J were formed at Leeds University in 2007. This sinister love song is a single from their debut album, An Awesome Wave and was partly inspired by Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's picture book Where The Wild Things Are. Newman explained to Interview Magazine: "The song is about liking someone who you want so much that you want to hurt yourself and them, as well. We related that idea to Where The Wild Things Are, which weAlt-J () Breezeblocks
all grew up reading, where in the end the beasts say 'Oh, please don't go! We'll eat you whole! We love you so!,' that they would threaten cannibalism to have that person - it's a powerful image. The video features a violent fight in a darkened apartment between a male and a female character shown in reverse, beginning with the death of the female character at the hands of the male character, who bludgeons her with a breeze block (a reference to the single's title).
This music video features continuity editing, which is used to smooth over the inherent discontinuity of the editing process and to establish a logical coherence between shots. It uses binary oppositions between the lyrics and the action depicted in the music video; for example the lyrics please dont go, Ill eat you whole, I love you so are juxtaposed by the aggressiveness and fighting of the two characters. Claude Levi Strausse states that constant creation of conflict/binary opposition drives narrative.
On the other hand, the lyrics do relate to the narrative considering, please dont go connotes the fact that she cannot leave if she is dead. This may however, highlight that there is still some love left in the relationship, since he does not want her to ever leave. It is up to the audience as to how they wish to perceive the lyrics and their relation to the visuals, relating to Blumler and Katz uses and gratifications theory, and confirming that the text is in fact, an open one.As previously mentioned, the music video has a reverse (retrospective) chronology. This device is used to create ambiguity in the plot line, and intentionally confuse the viewer provoking them to watch the production multiple times to understand it.The colouration of the film provokes a sense of melancholy, and potentially links to the convention of using colouration to indicate a flashback or prolepsis.This narrative (reverse or retrospective) is also shown in the film Memento, which also includes themes of deception and revenge. This is an intertextual reference (Goodwin).