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Film Narrative and Structure

            For my chosen sequence I have chosen a scene towards the end of the movie The Basketball Diaries'. The film is based on the real-life diary of Jim Carroll, a New York poet who grew up in the '60s and published his diaries in 1978. The result is an episodic assortment of misdeeds and bad choices. Jim, a 16-year-old basketball player, begins as an incorrigible troublemaker. Our first image of him has Jim defiantly enduring a series of painful paddling by the teacher, evidently an everyday routine. We later see him running around the streets with friends, shouting in people's ears, knocking over carts and leaping off cliffs into water, all traditional emblems of teenage abandon. .
             The mischief soon gives way to misery as Jim and friends become entrapped by the seductive forces of heroin. The second half of The Basketball Diaries' details the familiar course of the addict: the loss of everything meaningful--his sports goals, family and friendships. .
             Directed by Scott Kalvert, the picture contains a handful of striking images in a sea of ordinary ones. Most telling are the brief fantasy sequences in which Jim imagines himself gunning down the entire school, and another in which he sees himself being blown away while making a hoop shot. .
             The way we watch film and the way we perceive [everyday] reality are fundamentally similar, in both are determined by conventions or codes. Reality itself is a complex system of signs interpreted by members of the culture as in exactly the same way as are film and television programmes. Perception of this reality is always mediated through the codes with which our culture organises it, categorises its significant elements or semes into paradigms, and relates them significantly into syntagms'.
             Burch (1990).
             Using Burch's idea I will begin deconstructing the sequence: .
             The establishing shot begins with a slow fade in for a quiet introduction, the camera pans across a group of ragged clothed wasters' in a dingy derelict building described by Jim's voiceover as Headquarters- home for every down and out'.

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