The Narrative and Structural Aspects of Structuralist Films

The Narrative and Structural Aspects of Structuralist Films

The Narrative and Structural Aspects of Structuralist Films

Structuralist films are motion pictures that focus on conveying meaning through conventions and codes, which are similar to the manner in which language generates meaning in communication. However, unlike language, structuralist films leverage codes that are more sequential and temporal aspect in nature. As such, when analyzing a structuralist film, the researcher must take into consideration its temporality (Potempski 7). Moreover, the analysis conducted must seek to develop an in-depth understanding of how shots are brought together to create an idea. For instance, the juxtaposition of a shot highlighting a blank expression on an actor’s face, an enticing meal, and then the back of the actor’s face, is likely to convey an idea of hunger to the audience, even though there is nothing in the sequence that literally expresses hunger. The ensuing discussion focuses on two structuralist films which are the Unsere Afrikareise by Peter Kubelka and T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G by Paul Sharits. The discussions aim at exploring the various ways Kubelka and Sharits utilize lighting, shot duration, angle, and juxtaposition among other elements to bring out a sequence meaning in their films. The first section presents a background overview of the structuralist films, and their elements, while the subsequent ones critically compare and contrast their inherent structures.

Background Overview

This study explores experimental films and genres by taking into consideration their narrative and structural aspects. The two American independent films will be compared in terms of production innovation, design, as well as conceptual content. The researcher will primarily focus on the strategies of composition as meaning and structure as both content and marginal activism in correlation to the development of the producers’ personal voice rather than that of the industry. The researcher acknowledges that the formalist strategies of optical experimentation and provides the producers with an opportunity to create alternative duration and rhythms. Experimental films are considered as the mode of filmmaking that focuses on re-establishing the present cinematic conventions by exploring non-narrative forms. As such, these films leverage alternatives approaches to filmmaking and storytelling. While some experimental films have been produced and distributed through mainstream channels, the vast majority are often produced on low budgets or self-financed. Consequently, most experimental filmmakers start as amateurs using their films to catapult themselves into the commercial film making industry.

Comparing and Contrasting Kubelka’s and Sharits’ Structuralist Films

Unsere Afrikareise, which is German for ‘Our Trip to Africa’, is a 13 minutes Austrian experimental film, directed by Peter Kubelka. Although the film was initially commissioned as a travel diary to document a wild game hunt, Kubelka employed intricate editing strategies to highlight anti-colonialism in Africa, using four primary cinematic elements from the structural film movement. The elements include darkness, light, sound, and silence. Grissemann, acknowledges that Unsere Afrikareise utilizes a lyrical variations using the four basic elements of cinema. Kubelka’s film was released in 1966 to the people who had commissioned the film, together with their close family members, friends, and other artists. However, the owners were outraged by how Kubelka had portrayed them, and almost attacked him after the screening. Consequently, they hired lawyers who demanded that Kubelka turns over the film so that it could be destroyed. However, Kubelka refused to turn it over and instead, got into an agreement with them to not screen the film in their hometown (Habib, Pelletier, Bouchard, and Simon 12). The film is stored by the Anthology Film Archive as part of the Essential Cinema Repertory collection.

Unlike Unsere Afrikareise, which leverages complex editing to render a defined theme regarding colonial exploitation, the film T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G by Paul Sharits incorporates endless film loops, experimental soundtracks, and multiple projectors. Furthermore, it does not follow any particular sequence in its transformation. However, as is the case with Unsere Afrikareise, the film deploys multifaceted combinations of visual effects and audio in a manner that elicits psychological and emotional responses from its viewers. Both Unsere Afrikareise and T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G have the same relative length of time, which is 13 and 12 minutes respectively (Habib, Pelletier, Bouchard, and Simon 15). Moreover, both films leverage strategies that are inherent with the structural film movement, such as continual visual and audio repetition, flicker effects, static frames, and flash frames. However, unlike Unsere Afrikareise, the soundtrack in T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G consists exclusively of Sharits saying the word ‘destroy’. The filmmaker repeats the word over and over, until it creates an impression on the viewers that there are different combinations of words being spoken, thereby losing its meaning.

There are four main similarities between Kubelka’s and Sharits’ films, which include genre, frame, simple forms, and the structural decisions made by the directors. Firstly, both films move away from the condensed and complex cinematic practices, in favor of a more simplified and predetermined form of art known as the experimental or structuralist genre. One of the defining characteristics of structuralist films is that they emphasize more on the presentation than on tier content. As such, the form in both Kubelka’s and Sharits’ films was more crucial than their content (Lapsley and Michael 34). However, while both films employed structuralist elements, they were not similar. For example, Sharits’ film leveraged a fixed camera position, but in Kubelka’s work, the camera was mobile. Moreover, the flashing frames with flicker effects present in Sharits’ film were absent in Kubelka’s work.

Another notable difference in the film’s structuralist elements is that Sharits utilized visual and audio repetition, but Kubelka did not employ any form of audio mixing in his film. Instead, the sound on Unsere Afrikareise was recorded live on location. As such, Kubelka’s film incorporates dialogue, intermittent gunfire, as well as live music broadcasted on the radio. Unlike Sharits, Kubelka’s structuralist editing sought to create synch events that ensure image and sound were uniquely joined and aligned, which is a form of image and sound juxtaposition.

The second similarity between the films involves their use of simple forms. Both films are a good example of how filmmakers can leverage simple forms to grab their viewers’ attention. Unsere Afrikareise relies on simple compositions that could be easily recognized by the audience. For example, it does not take long for the audience to realize that the film’s representation of whites in Africa reinforces colonial exploitation. For instance, in a scene that shows a hunter killing a Zebra, there is depiction of violent behaviour; and mixed with various similar footage, there is strong suggestion of violence against other subjects within the frame. Moreover, there is scene showing a white man mounting a camel, while a black man leads the camel, which depicts a strong master-and-slave colonial theme. As such, in Unsere Afrikareise, simple representations and forms ensure the audience gives their complete attention to the thought of how they view hunting wild game and colonialism, without questioning the illusion presented to them.

T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G also produces a similar effect, especially in its use of sound. For example, if Sharits had used the word ‘destroy’ only once in a sentence, it would have most likely gone unnoticed by the audience. However, by constantly repeating the word over and over again, Sharits successfully leads his audience to question the certainty of what the word actually is. Although both films utilize simple forms to grab their viewers’ attention, they do it for different reasons. In Unsere Afrikareise, the simple forms are meant to reinforce the theme of colonial exploitation, but in T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, they are meant to subvert the viewers’ consciousness. Sharits’ repetition of the word ‘destroy’ is very destabilizing, especially because audiences are used to understanding words that have context and make sense to the film. Therefore, while the only world repeated is ‘destroy’, the audience is more likely to hear different phrases or words, most of them being ferocious in nature.

Besides, the abstract and violent words assumed by the audience are directly related to the vicious content of the flicking images on the screen (Bordwell 34). On the contrary, the simple forms in Unsere Afrikareise are intended to educate and inform the audience in a thought-provoking manner. The simple form in which the native man is portrayed is meant to highlight the unequal relationship between ethnographers and their study subjects. Consequently, the audience not only interprets structuralist films based on what they hear, but also on what they see. Similarly, the audience in Sharits’ work is more likely to interpret the flashing images based on what they hear, which is proof that the simplicity in structuralist films can be leveraged to manipulate the audience’s perception.

Finally, the structural decisions made by both directors are similar because they both comprehend that they do not require a lot of technical knowledge, but a deep understanding of how the human brain reacts to sound and images. For example, both directors leverage simple forms of sound and images, with the primary objective of provoking their audience’s thought-process in a way that incites them to engage in profound and philosophical brainstorming. As such, it is up to the viewers to discern the structuralist content in the films, as well as their meaning.

The directors’ approach suggests that the only content in their films is in the simple forms used to represent real human interactions and emotions. The only narrative worth telling is of how people process the information they see and hear from the films (Bordwell 204). Consequently, the structural decisions made by the directors suggest that there is a clear beginning, development, as well as an end in both films; but they cannot be identified by simply looking at the film, as is the case with other genres. For instance, in T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, the audiences’ first reaction of vagueness on whether Sharits’ work is abstract or representational in nature is the introduction, while the development is their realization that Sharits’ cinematic approach actually represents one way of reality in a genuine manner. Finally, the audiences’ understanding that their perception is nothing more than a representation of the actual reality is the conclusion.

Both structural filmmakers succeed in going beyond exploring the limitations of the medium available to them at the time (Kerner 82). For example, by creating sound illusions through reputation, Sharits uses film as a metaphor for the perception of reality. Similarly, Kubelka leverages cinema as a metaphor for the manner in which the audience’s mind perceives the different ways of representation, by creating a rendering of colonial exploitation using different images and sounds.


The analysis conducted shows that both Unsere Afrikareise and T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G are structuralist films that seek to convey concealed meanings. Shots in both films are brought together in a manner that elicits the audience to think and create their own meaning. Both films share numerous similarities, such as length of time, genre, frame, simple forms, the directors’ structural decisions, and cinematic elements such as darkness, light, sound, and silence, among others. However, despite the many similarities, the films are also dissimilar in some ways. For example, unlike Unsere Afrikareise which edits frames to create a theme about colonial exploitation, T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G integrates endless film loops and experimental soundtracks in a manner that does not follow any particular sequence, especially in its transformation.

Works Cited

Bordwell, David. “Neo-Structuralist Narratology and the Functions of Filmic Storytelling.” Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling, 2004, pp. 203-219.

Bordwell, David. Narration in the Fiction Film. Routledge, 2013. http://www.hi.zpok.hu/filmtext/Egyeb/Bordwell-Mimetic.pdf

Grissemann, Stefan. “FRAME BY FRAME.” Film Comment, 48.5, 2012 pp. 73. (Attached)

Habib, Andre, Pelletier, Fredrick, Bouchard, Vincent, and Simon, Galiero. An Interview with Peter KuBelka. Diss. Rhodes University, 2005. (Attached)

Kerner, Aaron. Film and the Holocaust: New Perspectives on Dramas, Documentaries, and Experimental Films. A&C Black, 2011. https://link.aps.org/pdf/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.245501

Lapsley, Robert, and Michael Westlake. Film Theory: An Introduction. Manchester University Press, 2006. http://leerpdfenlinea.info/theories-of-authorship-a-reader-registrate-ahora-john-caughie.pdf

Potempski, Jacob. “Revisiting Michael Snow’s Wavelength, after Deleuze’s Time-Image.” Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies, 6, 2013, pp. 7-17. (Attached).


Tired of Guidelines or Lack Time to Work on Your Paper, Get Original Custom Research Paper Writing Service

Thecustomwriting.com research paper writing service has saved thousands of students from stressful college life. Writing a custom research paper may be challenging, considering it has to be plagiarism-free. And it is better not to do your project than to hand in plagiarized work or hurriedly complete it if you do not have time.

Academic integrity is so vital that you may get a suspension or an expulsion because of a copy-pasted work. Writing a custom research paper requires research and writing skills to produce original content. Here are essential things to know about getting the best and legit assignments help websites.

Perfection is vital

Every website will promise you that they produce high-quality work. However, you put your money for your end-of-semester paper only to get a pass. You must learn how to identify the best writing service before committing.

Thecustomwriting.com produces quality content at all times. Rather than a quality promise, quality assurance is what you should consider before hiring a research writer. Best writing services are reliable. You don't want to partner with a cheap research paper writing service that will deliver poorly written essays hours after the due date.

Quality writers are part of the best writing service. A company that has untrained writers will fail you. Before committing, ensure that the people who will write your paper are academicians and professionals. It would help if you had a writer who will be prompt to respond to your questions and follow instructions. Writers who do not fear to ask for clarification where they don't understand are the best for you.

Beware of Scammers Posing to Provide Custom Research Paper Writing Service

It may take time and effort to find a legit custom research paper writing service. Most of the websites claiming to offer writing service trades your paper with another student. For example, if you order your paper today to submit it next week, you may find that another student has already handed over the same document.

Your money is gone, you have no paper to submit, and the deadline is in two hours. You can only sit and cook up some stories for your lecturer. Otherwise, wait for a penalty or suspension.

Others will give you half-baked papers in the name of cheap essays. Apart from reselling your paper, some companies will offer you copy-pasted work. If you don't have tools such as Turnitin or Copyscape to check plagiarism, you may find yourself in the dean's office explaining why you copied your work from the internet word-to-word.

We offer one of the best research paper writing services in the USA and the U.K.

You won’t regret choosing Thecustomwriting.com to handle your research. Your project is an essential part of your academic work. It determines whether you will move on to the next semester or if your name will appear on the graduation list. Do not gamble your education by hiring any cheap essay writing website you find on the internet. Look for a custom research paper writing service reviews before commit.

Avoid scandals by hiring Thecustomwriting.com. Count yourself lucky if you are reading this article. You are in the right direction in finding the writing service for your paper. Though many websites could have frustrated you, Thecustomwriting.com is committed to providing you with reliable service for your paper.

Thecustomwriting.com offers quality services at affordable prices, and they deliver your work on time. They have native English writers that write your paper using the correct language.

Plagiarism Free Custom Research Paper Writing Service

Our writers understand the seriousness of writing plagiarized papers. Every institution has regulations that govern how a research project is conducted. Universities and colleges take plagiarism as gross misconduct. The best writing services are those that will deliver plagiarism-free papers.

Plagiarism involves, among others, copying a published work and delivering it to your lecturer as your own without acknowledging the sources.

Another way your work can be plagiarized is the failure to include the source of your content in a research paper. If you are using someone's thought, you need to include a reference and in-text citations to show that you are using another scholars' worker.

It's a gross mistake to write a five-page paper without a single source unless the paper's nature does not require you to rely on any sources. Here are some tips our writers use to avoid accidental plagiarism:

  • Cite direct quotes, statistics, and paraphrased content.
  • Ensure that all in-text citations are included in the biography and vice versa.
  • Directly quoting not more than 2% of the paper, if quoting is necessary (some papers are exempted from this rule, especially literature).
  • Stick to high authority, scholarly sources. Our writers will hardly paraphrase content from third party blogs and other questionable sites.
  • Consider Buying A Custom Research Paper from Thecustomwriting.Com

    Consider hiring an expert essay writer if you are not sure about your capabilities. Referencing and citations can be challenging, especially if you try to do it for the first time. It's even harder when your lecturer asks you to use a hard referencing style. For example, Harvard requires you to include page numbers, dates, and the author's name in the text. If you have several papers with a strict deadline, you should consider hiring a custom research paper writing service to help you work on your essays.

    However, ensure the website you want to hire offers legit writing service. A good website should at least charge for its services. You will find many websites willing to provide you with free services. No one is that idle to sit and write a paper for free. Sites that provide free or cheap services hooks you when you least expect.

    Also, consider the price of writing a paper. Though cheap essays are of low quality, other sites may have inflated prices for their rate, making you needlessly break your bank.

    Thecustomwriting.com understands the need for a fair and reasonable price for most students. We know that most students need service, but they do not have enough resources. We, therefore, offer quality service that you can afford.

    Benefits of using custom research paper writing service

    If this is your first time considering using a custom writing service, the first thing is to know why taking such an action is the best. Choosing Thecustomwriting.com ensures professional writers handle your paper. Letting a qualified person handle your project can boost your grade. You cannot afford to fail in the upcoming end-of-semester project. In any case, your progress to the next level will be determined by how well you perform in your essay.

    Thecustomwriting.com ensures the timely delivery of your work. The good thing about legit essay writers is that they can write your essay within the shortest time possible, with one page taking up to one hour at most. It doesn't matter what time you want your work done: Thecustomwriting.com is always ready for a task.

    We will give you a paper written explicitly for you. We will ensure that your paper is not delivered to someone else.

    Come to think of this; if five of your classmates decide to order an essay for the same class, five writers will be assigned to work on different papers instead of paraphrasing one paper and sending it to five of you.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Do subject specialist writers handle my research paper?

    It's our responsibility to ensure that someone from your field handles your paper. Our company has enough writers from every discipline. We provide only a research writer qualified in your subject to handle your paper. After placing an order, the first step is to screen the question and requirement and match it with the best writer. The less qualified writer has a college diploma, and they only handle high school papers. All other writers are bachelor, masters, and PhD degree holders.

    Are your researchers qualified enough to know the core of the research?

    We commit to quality content. We understand that failure to deliver quality service will result in the loss of clients. Therefore, we only hire qualified writers who have an in-depth understanding of your paper. Whether you want quantitative research done using Chi-square or qualitative research, Thecustomwriting.com’s writers will comfortably handle any discipline or type of paper. Besides, we offer research paper service from college to PhD. Therefore, we cannot afford to have unqualified writers. Our researchers take every instruction keenly when writing your essay.

    Should I worry about order placement?

    There is nothing to worry about placing your order. Our platform has a simple, user-friendly interface that enables you to navigate to different functionalities with ease. We offer quality custom research paper writing services; thus, you don't have to worry about getting value for your money. Besides, you can track your order's progress. Our system progressively send you email notifications regarding every stage of your orders' progress; thus, you don't even have to log in to track down your order. You will also see the progress on the dashboard when you log in. Moreover, our support team will contact you when the writer needs any clarification.

    Can I have direct communication with the writer after the order placement?

    Our system is designed in such a way that it allows you to communicate with your writer directly. We understand the need to clarify things yourself to the writer. Furthermore, our support team is available 24 hours to ensure that urgent matters are communicated swiftly with the writer.

    Will I get any discount on recommendation?

    The answer is yes. We value your efforts and trust to recommend us to your friends. We will offer you a discount on your next order if a client mentions your email when placing an order.

    What guarantees should customers look for?

    We have a written list of what we guarantee our clients in our terms. We guarantee the quality, confidentiality, free revision, original content, and timely delivery. We also guarantee money-back if, in the unlikely event, you are not happy with the quality of the paper.

    What makes a reliable writing company?

    It's easy to know a reputable company. First, they are transparent about their services. They offer multiple methods of communication and have qualified writers. Most importantly, they deliver your work on time, deliver original content, and honour what they have guaranteed.

    Why should customers not opt for cheap essay writing services?

    Cheap essay services will only waste your time. They have foreign writers who will produce plagiarized content full of grammar errors. You will waste your precious time waiting for a paper that you can't give your lecturer.

    Is buying essays online safe?

    It's safe to buy your essay if you take the right precaution. Before putting your money on a strange site, explore the website to see whether you will get customer reviews. They will help you make the right decision.

    How do I hire someone to write an essay for me?

    These are common questions with most clients. It's effortless to get a professional writer. The first step is to identify a custom research paper writing service that is legit and sign up. After that, they will guide you on how to place your order and get a writer. Some companies will allow you to choose a writer for yourself or choose a writer for you.

    What types of writing services can I order online?

    Our website offers a variety of legit essay services. We provide any academic assistance, including research projects, assignments, and admission letters. Visit our website to see what each service entails.

    What benefits and additional features do Thecustomwriting.com services offer?

    We offer several free services to our customers. We offer free revision, a discount on your first order, and free pages such as references and cover pages. Also, we have a quality control department that ensures that all papers are of high quality before delivering them to you.

    Do websites maintain your privacy? Are orders secured?

    Your privacy is our top priority. You will be recognized by your I.D. assigned to you after signup instead of your name. The only person who can access your account is you or anyone else you give your password. Your payment is through a third party. Therefore, your personal information will never reach our site without your consent.

    What are the pros of ordering from custom writing services?

    You get quality papers. We have writers with decades of experience delivering quality papers worth the client's money and much more. We understand your power to influence our progress. Your paper will be delivered on time and written by professional writers.

    Hire a professional writer

    Now that you know what to look for when considering the custom research paper writing services, it's time to try us. Sign up and get a discount on your first order. You don't have to worry about quality, timely delivery, and price. We know they are essential to you.

    Calculate your order
    Pages (275 words)
    Standard price: $0.00
    Client Reviews
    Our Guarantees
    100% Confidentiality
    Information about customers is confidential and never disclosed to third parties.
    Original Writing
    We complete all papers from scratch. You can get a plagiarism report.
    Timely Delivery
    No missed deadlines – 97% of assignments are completed in time.
    Money Back
    If you're confident that a writer didn't follow your order details, ask for a refund.

    Calculate the price of your order

    You will get a personal manager and a discount.
    We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
    Total price:
    Power up Your Academic Success with the
    Team of Professionals. We’ve Got Your Back.
    Power up Your Study Success with Experts We’ve Got Your Back.