Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/22784
Title: A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight: A Cooperative and Cinematic Discourse Perspective
Authors: TOH WEIMIN
Keywords: Integrated framework, multimodal cinematic discourse analysis, narratology, internal workings of semiotics, linguistic pragmatic, camera
Issue Date: 29-Dec-2010
Source: TOH WEIMIN (2010-12-29). A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight: A Cooperative and Cinematic Discourse Perspective. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: A movie is multimodal in nature. As such, a holistic approach with equal emphasis on both linguistic and non-linguistic aspects of film is essential to the discourse analysis of a cinematic text. This study proposes an integrated framework for the analysis of the multimodal semiotic resources of cinematic texts. This proposed framework integrates the key components of linguistic pragmatic frameworks and visual frameworks to enable a comprehensive analysis of multi-semiotic resources in a movie. The linguistic pragmatic framework includes interactional discourse frameworks such as Grice¿s (1975) Cooperative Principle and its attendant maxims, and Austin¿s (1962) Speech Act Theory. Attardo¿s cognitive contextual categories of goal, (a)symmetry and (c)overtness of information possessed by the interlocutors in a dialogue are used to provide a high macro view to understand why certain motives, strategies and tactics are used by interlocutors. The visual framework includes the incorporation of the camera framework into Kress and van Leeuwen¿s (1996, 2006) Grammar of Visual Design to cater to the analysis of dynamic moving images in cinematic texts. Royce¿s (1998b; 2007) and Tan¿s (2005) conceptions of intersemiotic meaning potential are used to demonstrate how the linguistic and visual modalities interact with each other to produce the overall meanings. Tseng¿s (2009) filmic thematic configuration is used for the understanding of how character actions and interactions in the scene are correlated with the narrative themes of the cinematic text. In this study, Christopher Nolan¿s The Dark Knight (2009) is posited as the cinematic text to demonstrate how the integrated framework can be applied for the analysis. To explain how the integrated framework works, two overarching objectives are created. First, a narrative approach is utilised as a point of reference to analyse the cinematic text. The analysis of the narratology of the cinematic text includes the characters, their relationships and the narrative themes. The second overarching objective demonstrates the internal workings of a cinematic text. This study shows that although independent analyses of linguistic and visual semiotic resources can produce meanings on their own, their meanings are incomplete when viewed in the context of the movie. The linguistic and visual semiotic resources coordinate and negotiate with each other throughout a movie to produce a convergent and/or divergent meaning. This study argues that a holistic approach using an integrated framework that considers both semiotic resources needs to be applied in the discourse analysis of a cinematic text to uncover the new/multiple meanings that are created. Through the demonstration of the workings of semiotics in a cinematic text, the thesis is an attempt to contribute to film appreciation by raising awareness on how the movie works internally in a holistic manner and serves to enhance our experience and enjoyment of cinema. It may also help us better understand the movies we watch and how they are related to society and culture in general.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/22784
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