Movie Narrative Structure

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Documentaries are a form of movie media known as a nonnarrative formal system. Breaking the system down into smaller categories, four groups emerge (categorical, associational, rhetorical, and abstract). Focusing on the associational and rhetorical style will help to analyze the documentaries Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov), Roger and Me (Michael Moore), The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris) and Black Is Black Ain't (Marlon Riggs). The associational formal system lends itself to the Soviet …

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…film. Numerous narrators and written quotes are just some of the techniques that Riggs uses to convey his message of Blackness. To comment on the associational style of the film, throughout the narration there is a blurred picture of a figure running through the forest; it is not until the end of the film that the figure is revealed to be the director as he explains the symbolic meaning of this portrayal to the audience.