Fatal Flaw?

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Exactly. The decision of the protagonist in the last three minutes doesn't define his role in the story for the last two hours.

    Also, to assume Rick is the protagonist only if he gets the girl is to say that you can only have happy endings in films. So Woody Allen wasn't the protagonist of Annie Hall because he lost her, and Julia Roberts wasn't the protag in My Best Friend's Wedding for the same reason, not to mention every romantic tragedy (which Casablance falls under) where they don't end up together.

    I get it that WWII is a big event, but it doesn't make it the main story of Casablanca. It's like saying that Titanic is really a story about the people who told the ship to go faster vs the people who said it wasn't safe because of the icebergs. Jack and Rose? Not driving the action of the movie.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JimHull View Post
    But I do believe there is value in understanding the difference between the character who drives the efforts towards the goal and the character through whose eyes we witness the film.
    Sure. Casablanca is just a really poor example of this dichotomy.

    If Rick was the Protagonist, and by that I mean the character who drives the efforts towards the goal, then I think for the film to have the same sort of ending Rick would have ended up with Ilsa.
    I disagree. Let's take a simpler example. Let's say that Luke fails to blow up the Death Star. He doesn't turn off his targeting computer, his torpedoes impact on the surface, and the D.S. blows up the moon with the rebel base on it.

    Now, I think we can all agree that such an ending wouldn't be very satisfying, I'm not arguing that it's a better ending,or anything like that.

    But it doesn't change who the protagonist or main character of the story is. Those elements are defined the the totality of the story - they aren't determined after-the-fact by the ending.

    If Rick had gone through with the plan he told Ilsa, and gotten on the plane himself with her, handing Laszlo over to the Nazis, we all agree that wouldn't be a very satisfying ending, but it also wouldn't change the action of the first 98% of the movie. If you're relying on the ending to define your main character, then, it follows that you're suggesting that you can not identify the main character of a story if you missed the last five minutes of it.

    That strikes me as absurd on its face.

    Leave a comment:


  • TwoBrad Bradley
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Every major (perhaps even some minor) character in a movie is the protagonist of their own story.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JimHull View Post
    LOL, nice one dmizzo - The problems in "Casablanca" exist because there are two letters of transit that have gone missing. Letters of transit that Lazlo was going to use to get to America. Everyone wants those letters, but it is Lazlo who is driving the pursuit towards them (both because he is in Casablanca and because he wants them for his own self-interest). Strasser is actively trying to prevent that from happening (Antagonist). Once Lazlo gets those letters, the problems in the story are resolved and the film is over.
    Here's the problem:

    Laszlo's story involves much more than the letters of transit. He's not in Casablanca because of the Letters of Transit. He's not even initially in Rick's cafe because of the LoTs.

    The story is about how the LoTs intersect with, and mix up, RICK's life, not Laszlo's. This is actually probably the least cinematically interesting bit of Laszlo's journey to freedom, if you think about it.

    Leave a comment:


  • instant_karma
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by billmarq View Post
    May I be permitted to state the obvious? Is it not possible to over-analyze a movie, especially when we attempt to make the story fit into a formula?
    Absofrickenlutely.

    I have serious doubts that any of the writers involved with Casablanca in either it's film or stage form were thinking in terms of Laszlo being the protagonist of the resistance movement story.

    Leave a comment:


  • JimHull
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    No, I would never do that...

    My apologies to those who think I've tarnished the image of DoneDealPro. I didn't come in here to piss people off or offer an invitation to the Flat Earth society. The OP expressed concern that his story had a fatal flaw and pointed to one of my articles as a point of reference. He was then told that the problem was that his Main Character was not the Protagonist which by now you should know, I don't think is always that necessary.

    For those who think I'm nuts for proposing that Lazlo is the Protagonist I know where you are coming from, and I would have thought the same ten, maybe fifteen years ago. I by no means think he is the Main Character! The film is obviously about Rick, it his story, and it is his emotional journey we are on.

    But I do believe there is value in understanding the difference between the character who drives the efforts towards the goal and the character through whose eyes we witness the film.

    I'm sure everyone would agree that the ending of "Casablanca" is a triumphant ending. The good guys win and the Main Character, though perhaps a bit remorseful at losing the girl, is in a better place. We see the end results of his efforts as being a good thing. He had a bad attitude in the beginning, and he overcame it. On the other side, the good guys win and the bad guys lose. This is the definition of a triumphant ending.

    If Rick was the Protagonist, and by that I mean the character who drives the efforts towards the goal, then I think for the film to have the same sort of ending Rick would have ended up with Ilsa. Thankfully for us lovers of great stories that didn't happen!

    There is a larger problem going on in the story of "Casablanca" that everyone is dealing with -- the resistance (good guys) vs. everyone's favorite bad guys the Nazis (bad guys). From this perspective, the bar owner, the french resistance fighter, the chief of police, the bartender, and so on - all these characters display the relative value between doing what is best for themselves (self-interest) vs. doing what is best for others (self-sacrifice). Note that I avoided using proper names -- this is essential when looking at a story from a purely objective view.

    Internally, and more personally to the audience, we have that same struggle going on with Rick and Ilsa. This is a more subjective view into the problems presented in the story. I propose that it is the juxtaposition between the two different views that makes this film so great.

    By combining both views it is offering us something that we cannot get in real life -- the chance to step outside of ourselves and look at what goes on from a purely objective view.

    This is why stories are so wonderful and so important and why we keep going back to them over and over again - because they offer us something we don't get in real life: meaning.

    Leave a comment:


  • billmarq
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    May I be permitted to state the obvious? Is it not possible to over-analyze a movie, especially when we attempt to make the story fit into a formula? Some of the best films are those that don't fit a standard outline, like Psycho, in which the main character changes mid-story.

    In a lesser movie, perhaps, should we be forced to decide whether Starsky or Hutch is the protaganist just so we can fill in a blank?

    Standard outlines and formulae are great devices for a writer to use when constructing a story, but sometimes we need to deviate a little, and when we do the story may become more interesting or even meaningful.

    In the above mentioned movie, I have to believe that Rick is the protag. That doesn't mean that Laszlo didn't help move the story along by his actions.

    Now let's talk about Magnolia.

    Leave a comment:


  • asjah8
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    sorry folks, i just don't see the connection. ex., shawshank: red's character switches back and forth from first-person narrative to third-person limited; ie, "when i met andy" -- "andy knew he had to do it, but the warden would retaliate" (or similar words). it doesn't make red the protagonist, he's just relaying the events as he knew them to be.

    third-person limited is a fundamentally flawed pov unless the writer establishes ethos for the narrator; ie red's backstory information). in this case, i believe darabont cleverly wrapped ethos with pathos in order to draw the most identification from the audience. the magic of the literary tricks are hidden but they are there behind the scenes.
    Last edited by asjah8; 03-31-2010, 07:48 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • bioprofessor
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
    no, i said the storyteller is the protagonist, not the main character. in my examples the protagonist is telling a story about how the main character changed him or her life forever.*
    this doesn't apply to every single movie. most times the main character and the protagonist are the same person. i was just showing that sometimes they're not.

    *in shawshank - redd talks about how he spent so many years inside that he didn't think he could survive in the real world. remember when the first old guy got released and hung himself? redd thought he was on that same path but andy's desire to get out of that prison even after 17 years inspired him to survive out there. that's why redd is the protagonist and andy is the main character.

    *mockingbird was a coming of age story. the story of the main character (atticus) was told by the protagonist (scout) and she was telling us how her greatness of her father changed her life forever.
    Same goes for Stand by Me, where the narrator, Richard Dryefuss, is the reflective adult of one of the geeky, trio of misfits (can't remember the character's name).

    Leave a comment:


  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    damn it, janet... i mean, jeff. we didn't know you could sing.

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPlkn...=youtube_gdata

    Leave a comment:


  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by Mac H. View Post
    I can see why they are all stories told by a point of view character narrating.

    But where is the argument that the POV character/narrator is the 'main' character?

    Surely 'main' character isn't necessarily the one narrating. If you someone what the movie 'The Castle' is about, they aren't going to say it's about a kid who doesn't do much - but has a father involved in a court case to save the house.

    You'll say the film is about a guy going to court to save his house. The fact it's narrated/POV is from a kid doesn't make the kid the main character.

    They would say the main character is the guy the story is about.

    The narrator doesn't need to be the main character.

    Mac
    no, i said the storyteller is the protagonist, not the main character. in my examples the protagonist is telling a story about how the main character changed him or her life forever.*
    this doesn't apply to every single movie. most times the main character and the protagonist are the same person. i was just showing that sometimes they're not.

    *in shawshank - redd talks about how he spent so many years inside that he didn't think he could survive in the real world. remember when the first old guy got released and hung himself? redd thought he was on that same path but andy's desire to get out of that prison even after 17 years inspired him to survive out there. that's why redd is the protagonist and andy is the main character.

    *mockingbird was a coming of age story. the story of the main character (atticus) was told by the protagonist (scout) and she was telling us how her greatness of her father changed her life forever.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steven Jenkins
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Using Dramatica's theory of character traits -
    regarding the war
    Lazlo - persues resistance efforts,
    Rick - avoids by being neutral
    Strasse - hinders Lazlo's efforts to escape and continue carrying the flag of resistance against fascism

    regarding the letter of transit
    Lazlo - persues
    Rick - prevents
    Ilsa - reasons (until she uses a gun make him reconsider)
    Strasse - helps (by closing Rick's place, making it possible for Ilsa to see Rick while Lazlo's at a meeting).

    regarding emotions
    Rick - persues a solution from Ilsa
    Ilsa - prevents
    Lazlo - hinders rick's desire to get Ilsa back
    Strasse - helps (by shutting Ricks place, allowing Rick and Ilsa to kiss-and-make-up, then get Lazlo out of the country)

    regarding lazlo's escape
    Rick - persues the plan to fool everybody and get Lazlo and Ilsa on the plane.
    Strasse - prevents (by calling the control-tower).

    the fact that Lazlo does most of the persuing makes him protagonistic, but what he's persuing isn't the main drive of the movie - which is Rick's issues with Ilsa. So Rick is the protag of the main storyline.


    This is only a simple breakdown, but its enough to show the complex interweaving storylines, and what (changing) roles the various characters play in each. It's a film with two storylines and two protags. Rick's protag is the focus of the movie, it's his POV, he's the MC, so Rick is the Hero of the movie.
    Last edited by Steven Jenkins; 03-31-2010, 04:56 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mac H.
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
    all of these (and i'm sure there are many others) where there's a main character in a story told by the protagonist through voice over.
    I can see why they are all stories told by a point of view character narrating.

    But where is the argument that the POV character/narrator is the 'main' character?

    Surely 'main' character isn't necessarily the one narrating. If you someone what the movie 'The Castle' is about, they aren't going to say it's about a kid who doesn't do much - but has a father involved in a court case to save the house.

    You'll say the film is about a guy going to court to save his house. The fact it's narrated/POV is from a kid doesn't make the kid the main character.

    They would say the main character is the guy the story is about.

    The narrator doesn't need to be the main character.

    Mac

    Leave a comment:


  • TheKeenGuy
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    I think there's an interesting discussion to be had about split protagonists, but I have no idea why CASABLANCA came into it, because by no measure is Laszlo a protagonist.

    CITIZEN KANE would be a much more interesting film to analyze in regards to this. You have the reporter and his conflict about discovering the nature of Kane's last words, and then you have Kane himself. The reporter acts as a surrogate protagonist for the sake of moving the plot forward.

    A narrator character like Red in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION fills a similar role. It's not their conflict. It's not even fully from their perspective, but occasionally they take on that burden, and they usually have their own conflict to overcome as a subplot that further informs the theme of the film.

    I don't know if there's an official term for these kinds of characters. Shame on me for not reading the thread closely if someone knows and provided that answer. I've referred to them as "access" characters in the past.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X