Film as a text
embodies the communicative intentions of its creator. The success of the
cinematic communication, therefore, depends on the successful deciphering of
this encoded intention by the audience. If film is considered as a text owing
to its constitutional features, it can be understood that the meaning of the
film lies in the cognitive process of the audience. Therefore, one needs to
embark upon a research in this direction to understand the hidden structures
and the processes that are involved in cognizing a film text, which can be
taken as one of the most complex form of languages.
Any object that
can be “read” can be called a text, irrespective of the fact if it is a work of
literature, an arrangement of buildings, a street sign or styles of attires.
Text is a coherent set of signs that have certain kind of informative message
in it. The set of symbols are actually considered in terms of the content of
the informative message and not in terms of the medium in which these get
represented or the physical form.
Text is a
confluence of signs that add up to convey a meaning to the reader or the viewer
who gauges that meaning by virtue of the concept of the language. This process
of cognizing the text also involves using cultural markers, understanding
figures of speech and so on. However, the text remains irrespective of the kind
of interpretation which is attributed to it. It is like a script, in the words
of Barthes (1967) in the seminal essay “The Death of the Author”, which finds
completion in its comprehension by the reader or viewer.
4.3 Similarities: Film text and Linguistic text
distinguishing the types of text, one needs to take into account the difference
in modalities and source. In our distinction, one form of text is Audio text
which involves the functioning of the auditory inputs, the source being
external. Audio form of text can further be subdivided into Oral and Aural
What we are trying
to argue is the difference of origin and nature of these Audio texts. While an
Oral text would be constituted of spoken language, Aural text would find its
emergence in a non-linguistic form (e.g., music compositions, sound of a
running stream of water, etc.).
Aural text can
further be distinguished into Natural
and Artificial text forms. Natural text form is something which is
not created by human intervention, while Artificial
text form would need a human entity to produce and play the composition.
other modality of text is Visual. Visual text has arranged visual data. Again
it could be of two types, namely static and dynamic.
forms the complex inter-modal form of Audio-Visual text which involves the
functioning of all these divisions and sub-divisions, thus rendering the text
form a paramount complexity.
are certain similarities between Linguistic text and Film text. If an attempt
is made to approach linguistic text from a compositional point of view, it can
be noted that it is composed of a set of paragraphs. These paragraphs can be
seen as a set of sentences, which can further be reduced into a set of phrases.
Phrases are finally broken down as a combination of words.
the film text can also be approached from the viewpoint of compositionality.
The film text as a unit is a set of sequences. These sequences each can be seen
as a set of shots. A shot is actually a set of frames, while a frame can
actually be understood as a set of entities at a particular time.