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Narrative Comprehension and Film by Edward Branigan

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3

NARRATION

KNOWING HOW

There are many ways to represent a particular event within a narrative schema. In The Girl and Her Trust Grace, clinging to a handcar, is pursued by the hero in a locomotive and finally rescued from the tramps. Griffith decides to represent this simple event through a subtle and intricate series of cross-cuts between the handcar and the locomotive. He could have chosen many other ways to represent the chase and rescue. What effect does Griffith’s choice have on our comprehension of the story?

The chase comprises twenty-eight shots arranged into seven groups followed by two shots which end the film showing Grace united with the hero. In each group we see the handcar and the locomotive moving in the same direction on the ...

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