Story and Plot

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 | lecture material

Here are the definitions I provided in class. They come from Bordwell & Thompson, Film Art, 7th ed., pp. 70-71:

Story: “The set of all the events in a narrative, both the ones explicityly presented and those the viewer infers”

Plot: “everything visbily and audibly present in the film before us. The plot includes, first, all the story events that are directly depicted…Second, the film’s plot may contain material that is extraneous to the story world” [eg. credits and the musical score are extraneous to the story world, which is another way of saying that they are non-diegetic]

“The story goes beyone the plot in suggesting some diegetic events which we never witness. The plot goes beyond the story world by presenting nondiegetic images and sounds that may affect our understanding of the story.”

The filmmaker makes a story into a plot; the viewer reconstructs the story through viewing the plot.