Origins of Classical Narrative Cinema / Citizen Kane
-very early ﬁlms were shot in one take, they did not have a plot or story, they were
more focused on the fact that there was a moving picture. The Lumière Brothers
would simply ﬁlm reality, and thats what the ﬁlms would be about, for example A Train
Arriving at a Station.
-by 1900, ﬁlms began to focus more on having plot, not just ﬁlming reality. there was a
story that began to appear. in George Méliès's A Trip To The Moon, there were
individual scenes that were put together, to form a story or plot. the only close up that
happens is of the moon. turn on the camera, record what is going on, turn off the
camera. pro-ﬁlming space is what is going on in front of the camera. in this ﬁlm, there
is another scene, unlike ﬁlms prior. although there were no cuts, there is still a change
of scenery, cued by actors walking off of the stage.
-V.W. Grifﬁth developed the basis for the classical Hollywood style. very little has
changed since 1910, in terms of telling a story in cinema and movies. there should be
clarity and linear (time-wise), and the ﬁlm would strive to achieve closure. Grifﬁth
wanted to create a visual dynamic that would keep the audience entertained, while
still having an understanding for what was going on. He also came up with the idea of
changing frames, location, and camera angles. This would keep audiences more
entertained, and keep their attention to the ﬁlm.
-The Lonedale Operator (1911) keeps the spectator interested through changing
scenes, adding cuts, which was something new to cinema. there was also multiple
locations in order to keep the attention of the audience. this ﬁlm consisted of a story, a
plot, and a conclusion. the audience was able to tell what was going on throughout
the movie, through a multitude of scenes and characters. the ﬁlm happens in
chronological order, from beginning to middle to end.
-a plot of a ﬁlm must progress towards closure, following “cause and effect”. the
audience is able to easily distinguish a story from this method. this arrangement is
what differentiates “story” and “plot”. The Story is the succession of events as they
unfold chronologically. Sometimes, however, some parts of the story are not
meaningful to the plot. Tying a shoelace in the morning has no effect of the rest of the
day. The Plot is the arrangement of events within the ﬁlm itself, where cause and
effect determines the structure of the narrative.