Narrative is the most important part of a film. It helps to structure the film to give an understanding of plot and helps the film progress. There are several elements of creating a narrative such as character motivations and how time and space is structured. The 15 minuet chosen is at the beginning of the film just after the credits. The most important thing about the start of a film is that it can establish a narrative quickly so the audience doesn’t get bored.
The first two minuets of the film (after the credits) begin with a point of view shot of the mansion followed by a pan out which introduces the first character, As this character walks around the room the camera follows instantly introducing a second character.
As a conversation begins between the two characters a 180 degrees line is created which moves depending on which character is talking. The dialogue of this first sequence sets up a story and gives the old lady the chance to introduce the main character “Edward” although we don’t see him yet.
As the camera pans back towards the window a voice over continues giving further insight to the story, The camera travels through the window and gives us an instant establishing shot (suburbia) followed by a secondary establishing shot of the mansion. After a fading transition the camera is on the inside of the mansion looking down on the houses in the same way that the old woman was looking up at the house.
This whole two-minuet sequence is strangely similar to the one seen in Citizen Cane when we see Cane’s mansion in the way the sequence is shot and the content (The mansion, An outcast within the mansion, The use of snow). After a small pan outward we get a slight glimmer of a pale figure looking down at the streets then there is a cut taking us to a new scene. These two minuets have established a place where the film is based around and has given an insight into the plot a head.
For the plot to progress it is essential that characters are introduced to the audience. We are introduced to all of the main characters one at a time in the first 15 minuets. At the beginning of the film we see the characters of the old woman and the child although we don’t now who they are yet and after the first scenes the first character introduced is “Peg” A door to door seller of makeup. We are also introduced to many of the minor characters (The Neighbours) in the first 15 minuets as Peg visits their houses. After Peg has her first meeting with Edward (Who is the next main character to be introduced) she is instantly motivated to bring Edward to her suburban home despite being so disfigured and different. This seems like the last thing someone from Suburbia would want to do and oddly the whole of the street are welcoming to Edward.
Edward is represented in many ways by what we see. The mansion that stand over the houses is a dark dilapidated building that the people living in the houses below don’t seem to take any notice of in the same way that these people don’t except who Edward is on the out side (A disfigured man who looks like a dangerous “freak”) which is an odd thing for people living in such a formal area to do but in time these people will start to see who he is on the outside but will let there judgement of what he looks like cloud there judgement of who he may be on the inside (A innocent child like person with feelings). The motivations of Edward are made clear in the first 15 minuets of the film.
When Edward is shown a picture of Kim (Pegs daughter) the use of panning and Non diagetic music really show the fact that Edward is transfixed with her, There is then a cut to show the expression on Edwards face which isn’t much but with the music we can see what Edwards goal will be (It is not obvious yet) even though Edward may not know it yet himself. We are also introduced to an obvious obstacle seen in the picture (Kims boy friend) and again although not even the audience can understand the man in the picture is going to become a problem it is there to set Edward A goal and what he has to over come to reach this goal.
Also the first 15 minuets are giving us a setting and characters, at the same time we are slowly being set up for a conflict. The characters create the fairy tail feel with Edward being the hero, Peg being the queen or just the mother, Pegs husband being the King or just the father, Kim will become the princess and carols boyfriend will be the Evil duke/ Bad guy. If this wasn’t seen as a fairy tail then there are obvious elements of a grim folk tail and Levi Straus theories within the plot.