Thursday, April 7, 2016

Interpreting Narrative

So, my film is not finished, but I've been showing a lot of people the stuff I have so far. And it's really interesting to hear what people say about it. Everybody has a different interpretation. Everybody has a different perspective -- telling me things that I never thought of while filming.

This got me thinking a lot about interpreting story and how different backgrounds and beliefs can cause different interpretations. 

Here's a little story.

A while ago, I dated this girl named Courtney. She wasn’t the nicest girl -- actually, she was downright cruel, but I can’t deny the love we shared for television and movies. After watching a show or a movie, we would both share our individual opinions and reasons for our opinions. Though we may not have always agreed, (which happened frequently thus resulting in our break up) we would both have educated and thought-out reasons for why we liked or didn’t like a show or movie. This was one of her few redeeming qualities.
Courtney and I both followed the show Breaking Bad very closely. It was perfect for television junkies like the two of us because it had strong character development, clever symbolism and great cinematography. We would watch season after season guessing what would happen next. The show follows the life of Walter White, who is an under appreciated chemistry teacher who turns to cooking methamphetamine to provide for his family after he is informed that he has lung cancer. As the show progresses, you see how the life of crime changes Walter White as he deviates from simple family man to becoming a megalomaniac drug kingpin.
 Breaking Bad shows the transformation from the good guy to the bad guy. And what usually happens to the bad guy at the end of a movie or television show? They die. When Breaking Bad was coming to its final season, Courtney and I made predictions on how the show would end. Opposed to popular belief, Courtney did not think that Walter was going to die at the end. She was certain that the writers were going to show how Walter pushed away everything that he valued in his life and then show him living with nothing left. I thought that was absurd. There was no way that the writers would let Walter White live after all of the villainous things that he had done throughout the series. Courtney and I had legitimate fights where we would yell and scream at each other because we couldn’t agree how it would end. More of her yelling at me because I didn't agree with her. Well, at least, that's how I remember it. 

She was convinced that Walter White would have to live with himself after ruining his life that he worked so hard to afford. She thought that this would be the punishment that Walter deserved giving the viewers a satisfying ending. I thought that Walter was going to die. I thought that the whole show revolved around how Walter tied to escape death, from when he first found out he had lung cancer to killing his drug competitor, and the conclusion would show how death finally caught up to him. Courtney did not like this. But when the finale premiered and Walter White died, I didn’t let Courtney forget it. It felt great being right. But more importantly, this showed how our different beliefs resulted in our different interpretations.

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