Tzvetan Todorov suggested that stories begin with an equilibrium where any potentially opposing forces are balanced which are then disrupted by an event. This sets in chain a series of events where problems must be solved so that order can be restored and a new equilibrium created.
1. Who are the agents: the protogonist (the main hero who propels the narrative forward) and antagonist (opposing agent).
2. Describe the Equilibrium. How is it represented? What kind of camera shots can you identify.
3. Is the Disruption or Disequilibrium introduced or hinted at?
4. Are there any visual/verbal/aural clues that hint at what the hero's journey might be?
5. From your knowledge of the film, how will the equilibrium be restored and what will be the new equilibrium?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Applying Todorov's Theory of Equilibrium
The protagonist is obviously Lola/Mary as she is shown for the duration of the film, even though she can be quite over the top and dramatic we are made to sympathise with her as her world has been turned upside down. The antagonist appears to be Carla as in the first encounter she has with Lola she is extremely cutting and snide. Also later on she approaches Lola and is quite nasty about Ella who seems to innocent. She says that she "better stop before she gets nasty," implying that she can be even more mean.
Immediately, we see how Lola is forced to move from her beloved home in New York to New Jersey . She refers to NY as 'the centre of the universe,' while NJ is 'another planet/Deadwood.' These two states are neighbouring, which shows how she can exaggerate. At 3:00 a LS is used when Lola arrives at her new house in the car. This establishing shot shows that the scenery is pretty and warm but how small Ella is in comparison to this new place. Even though she is with her family she does not fit in because she feels so drawn to New York. Afterwards a MS is used to show how Lola crosses her arms and disapproves of the situation, adding "Oh Mom."
Lola, although seemingly innocent, acts quite self-centred. We see this many times, in particularly from 3:41 to. Many shot types are used; an upwards tilt to show Lola's over the top outfit, a WS of her riding her bike down the street and a CU of her looking around the place. Her voice over is also played coincidently. So much is going on to make the audience focus on Lola although it seems that she thinks even more about herself, as she crashes into a tree by not looking where she is going.
When she gets to school a WS is used to display Ella and Lola meeting each other. They mirror each other's actions and the shot order eventually goes from WS to MS to CU showing that th two immediately click and ill be close.
Contrary to this Carla and Lola's relationship is set up to look negative. We know this because as Ella and Lola are having a friendly conversation music is played while Carla ad two friends walk into what was a WS illustrating closeness. The camera then goes to a MS of Carla so that we focus on her as she seems to want as much attention as Lola. It is now clear that the equilibrium will be disrupted by Carla.
The band Sidarthur play an important role in the film. In this sequence all three main characters (Lola, Ella and Carla) have some connection to it. An ECU of a poster on Lola's wall is used while she describes the lead singer as "The greatest poet since Shakespeare'." Lola and Ella connect due to their love love of the band and Carla knows them personally. It seems as if they will all reconnect due to this common element shared between the girls, possibly causing friction as Carla is very rude, and appears to believe that Ella and Lola are not good enough.
Towards the end of the clip, from 6:52 onwards, Carla approaches Lola saying that she is sitting in her seat, as she likes to be "dead-centre." This remark seems almost scary, as 'dead' is such a powerful word. Moreover she criticises Ella's style, which proves that she is shallow-but her attention seeking, fashion loving ways seem to be just like Lola's so it is clear that the two will clash and become rivals. They are too similar in that they both strive for the top, but only one person can win.
As we know, the equilibrium is disrupted when Lola moves to Dellwood (which she refers to as Deadwood) and meets a friend and enemy. In the film Lola and Carla are constantly competing with each other. They both audition for a part in the school musical, which Lola wins then Lola beats Carla and a dance game. However the real challenge to Lola arises when she discovers Carla has tickets for Sidarthur's sold out performance. So that she does not lose out to Carla, Lola claims she also has tickets. The journey begins to the gig, where Lola and Ella fail to get tickets for the show but manage to get into the band's after party. They make friends with the lead singer, who at the end of the play turns up at Carla's party to see Lola. Lola tells her friends that Sid is here to see her but he claims differently. Carla is ashamed and ends up falling into a fountain but Lola helps her up. A new equilibrium is restored, as Lola and Carla are now friends: there is no antagonist or disruption to affect Lola.