Analysis of the beginning of the screenplay Mitzi
Dr Fatmir Terziu
Mitzi is a short script suitable for amateur production. This story provides the dramatic centre for the narrative shifts, between all acts of engagement and also the climax of the narrative. The theme for this script is the fabula, which works in the meaning of the phrase “Men are not the same as women. The rich are not the same as the poor. Nobody is the same as anybody else”. For Cooper “… the fabula can be the source of a short film, since they have a character, a narrative, and a climax” (Cooper, 2000: 90). The story of this script is told in chronological order. In a simple linear narrative it provides the focus for all the major dramatic action within the narrative. “The main story is the one which will form the dramatic spine of the narrative” (Parker, 1999: 81). Mitzi is the central protagonist in main story of this script. She occupies the most narrative space, but we find out about her from the other characters. She is surrounded by other characters but does “not tend to develop complex relationships between characters…” (Cooper, 2000: 125). We find out that Mitzi has some kind of problem, and is not allowed to go to the same Secondary school as her friends. Her mum, Monica, and her father, Bernard, are always arguing about what is better for her. Another character is Etienne, a French man and also Monica’s lover.
This screenplay draws the readers attention because it does not reveal what Mitzi’s problem is from the beginning. The dialogue between Bernard and Monica is the main feature of the opening part of the screenplay. The camera description following Mitzi creates the most suspense in this opening part. The camera follows her to her bedroom, downstairs, around the table and playing with the chess pieces. Suspense is also created when Monica meets Etienne and when Bernard is talking with the headmaster of the Secondary school. It is most climactic part of the extract.
The visual grammar of this extract is well developed. We are from the beginning in Mitzi's bedroom. Dark shadows, and the curtains blowing around slightly due to open window. The script shows Mitzi's sleeping face. After that the narrative of the script is occupied by Bernard and Monica’s conversation about Mitzi.
The scene is constructed around the problem that Mitzi has, but the plot is not revealed fully from the beginning. The camera works with the structure, shot reverse shot, all the times when the conversation between Bernard and Monica continues and while Mitzi is in the kitchen. When Monica is talking with Etienne about her daughter’s problem the scene is constructed slightly differently. The structure is not as it was when Monica was having a conversation with Bernard. It is constructed with more two shots, in order to present both of them at the same time and to order the meaning that they are in love.
At last, from the outset the form and content seemed to be set in parallel tracks to each other. The content of the script is reliant on form to a large extent. These factors affects the content of the script in elements such as length, structure and time. The composition and the narrative work with real time. According to Parker “the impact of real time on the form of a narrative … has a direct impact on plot and characterisation” which leads Cooper’s argument “…the plot enables the character to achieve his goal” (Parker, 1999: 24 & Cooper, 2000: 161).