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Essay on Me and You and Memento and Fargo by J.J. Murphy

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Structure in any form of narrative is vital, whether it be in films, books, theatre, etc. It is a frame
for a story to work within. While there is a traditional method and formula to structuring a film
narrative, filmmakers all over the world have experimented with breaking the norm and trying
new ways to structure a film. It tested the viewer’s notion of what structure is and how a
narrative can be told. It was also new and something that audiences were not used to. Even now,
a film that moves too far away from the traditional three-act-structure, is highly experimental and
usually only seen in independent or student films.
In this essay I will look at the film “Slacker” (Linklater, 1991) and see how they structured the
narrative and compare and contrast it to three-act structure used by most films. I will also explore
how I, as editor, will structure our group’s experimental project.
In his book titled “Me and You and Memento and Fargo”, Murphy (2007:241) notes that the film
“Slacker” does not have a three act structure. “…the characters in Slacker never reconnect, there
are no major turning points along the way to provide complications in a larger plot or to divide
the film into separate acts.” At first look, this film is without structure. It feels random and as if it
was not even scripted. The story moves seemingly from one character to the next, creating
questions without giving answers and never shows the audience that character again.
Although the director Richard Linklater did allow for a lot of improvisation from the actors, it
was scripted and they did have a structure that was based on character. (Murphy, 2007:239)
While there are a few events in “Slacker”, most of the film is centered...


... middle of paper ...


...l relevance and weight to the story. It
serves to explain why the character is acting in the way that he does. “These memories intrude
anguish, and…propose that extreme lives are propelled by extreme trauma…the effect of
repressed personal history on present behavior.” (Rabiger, 2008:184)
Conclusion
It is important comparing these narrative structures as no good story is without it. Before one can
experiment with how the story is told one must know what the conventions and rules of
storytelling is. To break the rules of structure, we must first know what they are.


Works Cited

Field, S. 2005. Screenplay. Revised ed. New York: Bantam Dell
McKee, R. 1997. Story. New York: HarperCollins
Murphy, J.J. 2007. Me and You and Memento and Fargo. New York: Continuum.
Rabiger, M. 2008. Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics. Fourth Ed. New York: Focal
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