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Signifier and Signified

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So now, sign has two parts; I was talking about image, iconicity, indexes and signs. Sign has two parts: signifier and signified. Signifier is the ordinary physical part, sign-as-object, as we call it. The tangible thing which we see, a pen is a pen is a pen, but does it signify something? So that becomes signifier. So, when it is just a pen; it is signifier when it goes, when we can read deeper meaning into something, it become signified. So, signified is the psychological part. You may look at a pen from various perspectives and it all depends on your world view of objects. There are deeper meanings to it. A color can also be read as the signifier and red signifies many things here. What?Passion, zest for life. A man whose professional- personal life is has reached cul-de-sac and then in this girl he finds something; some excitement, some romance, some hope.So, red is several things in American Beauty.So, synecdoche is another aspect of sign system,Relationship between part to a whole. So when we say the Oval office, we know whowe are talking about, when the say the crown we know what we are talking about.The badge on the other hand signifies, the law; some are representative of the law.So, a heroine for example, may be well known for her smile, she is smiles and everyone know what it means.Sometimes actresses are just told, do not worry about the scene, just smile because that iswhat people come to watch.Humphrey Bogart would always carry cigarette, film noir hero.So, he has to be surrounded in smoke. Clint Eastwood the western hero and his cigars;they all signify something, so part conveying a whole. So, he knows what we are looking at?Clint Eastwood with his trade mark cigar; he is a tough guy, he is a tough guy not to be messed around‘Zodiac’ is a movie which plays around with a sign as system.The entire premise of the movie is centered around, how to read and decode certain kind of signs.This is the shot from which movie? And again what does it signifies to you?Waiting for the bus, a shot taken from the behind, so any meaning that you can read into it?A man waiting for something, someone to come, a bust to come, he is hopeful.But, he also extremely lonely; he has no one up. So, this is this was the original poster of Forest Gump.A lonely man sitting on a bench in the middle of nowhere;we do not know, just having one meager belonging with him.Original poster for ‘Easy Rider’. It is a land mark movie. For what sub culture?The counter- culture, counter culture movie. It set the stage for several other counter-culture movies.Counter culture is another thing that we will be looking into during this course.So, what do you understand by this still?Who are they?Student: It’s clear that two people are on bikes. The mannerism they seated suggest that, free thinkers.Free thinkers. So, you are looking at a pair of people, who are absolutely on their own;but they are very, they look seem to be very much at ease on their bikes and there is thebond between these men and their machines, that is why ‘Easy Rider’.Another concept that you should know, denotation and connotation, again it is like signifier and signified.Denotation, the primary, direct meaning; whatever we see.Connotation is the sub-text, the secondary, indirect meaning; again depends on your collective culturalattitudes and personal associations with an object.Now, this is a scene, this is the still, I know I know that you know which movie is frombut connotation and denotation; what is it, what is this connoting?A woman in a shower.But if you know something about this kind of movie; you know a slasher movie then youknow, what is going to happen. It denotes something. A scared woman; perhaps she hasseen someone whose very threatening presence, so that is denotation, that comes when you arefamiliar with the grammar of film, I am going back to something, with which I havestarted the lecture today, the grammar of cinema. So, that comes with your ability toassociate certain images with certain feelings. And that comes through your cultural understanding,a collective cultural association with certain things.Student: Also take background music workout because that is become so iconic.But when we just look at the poster,this is the poster and there we do have no music, but the poster say that all and.Then Hitchcock’s famous line that accompanied this poster, what was it?Watch the movie from the beginning, do not come late.And Hitchcock personally saw to it, that assures in theaters thatdo not allow people to enter the theater, even 1 or 1 minute after the movie has started.I mean normally that the practice, people can walk in a movie theater, with just movie;how does it matter whether we watch it from the beginning or 5 minutes into the movie.But then it was the hype, it was the kind of hype generated by Hitchcock that this movie isfull of suspense, and to understand this movie it is very important that you watch it from the beginning.Another important name we have already seen,mythology and Roland Barthes, and this is another interesting article by him S/Z,where he talks about five systems of meaning.These systems are called codes,and these codes of cinema are like, grammar to a language.It is important to understand certain codesto understand a film, to construct certain meaning. So, these are the five codes, Roland Barthes gives us;the enigma code, the connotative code, the action code, symbolic and the cultural code.The enigma code is a when a films set certain kind of puzzles; it does not explainyou everything, what is going to be, what is the movie going to be all about, thus theidea of the enigmatic. So, the word enigmatic itself is enough to tell you that, the makernot going to give you the plot away from the beginning. Who did it and happens, so mostlyin suspense films, this is the code which is often employed.And I would like to draw your attention to this, still from Hitchcock’s vertigo.James Stewart and he is surrounded by two women, both very pretty, but very distinct from each other.And what gives you that distinction? Now read the signs here.One is the Hitchcock’s fascination for the blond woman,so one is blond another is dark.What else?Cloths, one is wearing certain, may be let say light or pastel color, other one is wearing darker-shier.The dark hair woman wearing dark-shier. The mole, mole of course to enhance someone’s appeal.Now, the makeup;so the dark hair woman is also wearing more conspicuous makeup,whereas the light hair girl wearing light color clothes and less prominent makeup,The binaries are set. So, who is the good girl and the bad girl? Hitchcock is telling you from the outside.But both roles played by the same female actor, Kim Novak;they are not two different actresses, they are the same.So, Hitchcock plays around with these binaries,and watch Vertigo, it is very interesting, so that is enigmatic code.Connotative codes are signs that imbue characters and setting with certain meanings, includingspeech, clothing, movement, gestures;creating illusions of real people having real experiencesin a real world to connote something, real people. So, we will be talking about realism,and I will also introduce you to Andre Bazin’s the anthology of photographic image wherehe talks about, cinema and realism.So, all film makers attempt to be realistic, but are films real?Another still from ‘Vertigo’. What is happening here?The blond woman wearing a light colored suit, staring at picture.What sort of a picture is that?From some other period, from some another era. What could be the setting here?Is it her house, personal house or; look like a museum, look like a museum.And what are we supposed to look at, the woman or the picture?Perhaps Hitchcock wants us to look at the woman who looking at the picture.And why he wants that to wonder, why is she looking atthis particular picture so intently?So, that is the mystery of Vertigo; if you havewatched the movie you will understand that why is this particular art gallery so important,why is this woman’s fascinations, what is she having? She is having the bouquet on oneside and clutch on another. And again like our Forrest Gump, she is sitting very aloneon a bench, but they are very different kind of people.So, again conveying the sense of loneliness, obsession with something.She is not, certainly not waiting for any one, she is looking at the picture; fascinated,obsessed by this picture, that is an impression she tries to convey special to the hero, whois the detective and who has been ordered by the husband to follow his wife.He says, I do not trust my beautiful wife whenever she goes out, I wonder who she goes,I mean whom she meets and where she goes. So, I want his job, that hero’s job whois also detective played by James Stewart, his job is to follow this woman throughout the movie.And he discovers that most of the time, she sits on this bench and looks at this picture,so he tries to unravel the mystery of this particular fascination for this picture.How many of you have watched Vertigo? Do watch, because someone wanted me to discuss Hitchcockin this class; so we will try to do that but I would like you to do watch Psycho, Vertigo, Notarious,Any other movie that comes? Rear Window, is very important Grace Kelly's.To Catch a Thief, again Grace Kelly's and Cary Grant's.So, Grace Kelly happen to be Hitchcock's favorite blond,so they collaborated on three movies and Kim Novak was another favorite blonde of his Vertigo.Again, dress, gestures, which movie? All of us all are familiar with this film; and tellme what are the gestures, the body language, the coming together as a group, their cloths,what do all these things combined to tell you?Student: They working, working together.Working together, they are a groups, they are all buddies. What else? What kind of people are they?Not necessarily gangsters at this point, we are not very sure.But from the outward appearance, what do they look like?Sloppy people? Well dressed, well dressed definitely, not sloppy; not sloppythey may be slouching, but they are definitely not sloppy. They are very careful about their appearance,a great deal of attention has been paid to what they look like and we knowand quit you know alike; so there is the kind of uniformity about most of them exceptthe only guy who is an outside and then we will later realize why, why is he.The action code, signs belonging to a pattern of action and I will give you an example.You look at set of signs and symbols and you know what the action is going to be all about.Is it a love story; far from it, what is it.What could it be all about when you look at bruised body of Bruce Lee?A martial art movie; no one has to tell you something else, I meanif they say that Bruce Lee plays a gangster or romantic hero or a historical or Lincolnperhaps, you would not believe, right. We know what is going here.And what is happening here, is it an action film? Far from it, it is a, it is drama, it is a romantic.Action code, what how the, the principles are acting, performing, it tells you everything.The symbolic code, organizing all experiences into a patterns and binaries; so, good versus bad, hero versus villain.So, there are certain symbols given to people like, the good girl and the bad girl,the blond and the dark haired girl, right.The western as a genre played on this symbols,so the good girl is always the white girl with fair hair.And the farm fatale would always have dark hair and wear dark lipstick and dark shades of cloths,a very good example of symbolic code.And look at the way this poster was constructed.Do you find something strange here?The eyes,the faces are so conjoined that eyes become.Cultural code, a very interesting one; it includes the text that is the film's referencesto things which we already know, and film makers assume that the audience are workingon set of shared assumption and shared believes. We do not have to sit and tell them that youknow, when you see a particular set of people they are always the good people and then yousee people with beards and ropes then they are always terrorist belonging to a particularset, so shared assumptions.So, cultural behavior, morality and politics should be, there shouldbe some kinds of shared assumption about these things.So, the cultural code operates onthe idea that cultural not only constitute; so make the self but also restricts or constraints the self.We are restricted as well as informed by our cultural codes.So, when you look at this set,one is an out and out love story whereas the other scene or other movie is thelove story with some problems; and we know what those problems are because we have certaincultural assumption about, what regular love should be all about.So, therefore, we have a we have no problem, when Jack and Rose fall in love in Titanic,but because culturally we know that films play on this things; you know the rich girlmeeting the poor boy or vice-versa and love happens, but that is acceptable.But what happens in a country where there are strong reservations about homosexuality, and thereyou cannot have a movie like Brokeback Mountain, really. The movie was banned from the releasingin the several, several countries, because of the cultural codes.Now, this is very interesting Michael Douglas’ Falling Down.How many of you are familiar with the movie, Falling Down, Michel Douglas?Tell me what does he look like?Now apply all your codes to him. 9 to 5 worker.What kind, what makes you say so?Students: Regular white shirt, regular tie and a brief caseRegular white shirt, regular tie and a brief case but then the here is theproblem, he is not so regular. Why? He has got something, threatening in other hand;brief case in one and gun in another. So, if you are very familiar with filmic grammar,the cultural code, if you share a set of believes and assumptions from movie with movie goingpublic; you understand that here is the hero, and every man, an average man who on a givenday, decides that he cannot take it anymore, thus the idea of Falling Down.It’s a he, it is a regular day for him when it is starts, but by the end of the day he turns into something else.So, therefore, it is the very you know, importantway of giving that kind of impression to the audience. So, all these factors raising questionsabout, how this particular man, an average regular every man kind of hero, finds himselfin these surrounding; you know desolate area, graphics on the walls, what is he doing here?His cloths, his hair, his glasses they give an impression that he is the very regular person.But then there is the, there he is standing in a place which is surround the demolitionsides, skyscrapers in the background. So, the film raises several questions aboutcodes of conduct, what happens when a very regular person has the break down with thesystem with the establishment of society.This is another movie, I would recommend thatyou watch it, and watch it alongside Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver; these movies shouldbe watched back to back, Taxi Driver and Falling Down.And I was saying watch ‘Seven’ asyour homework and then we will be discussing the semiotics of ‘Seven’ when we meet next.So, thank you so much and see you soon.