The main focus of this lecture was Denotation and Connotation which are keys parts of Semiotics (click link for previous first year blog post on semiotics)
In basic terms, Denotation is what we are seeing, therefore the actual description of something. Whilst Connotation is what is being suggested by the image and different interpretative meanings.
As an example I looked at a trailer of Delicatessen (1991):
Having seen the trailer before watching the entire film, the context behind the scenes I viewed were completely unknown and open to interpretation. After initially watching the trailer I managed to note down some key points of denotation which stick out in my mind:
- Two people bouncing on bed, man and woman; man wearing jumper with elephants on and woman in dress.
- Man looking around
- Man in apron sharpening knife
- Woman beating rug, looks up towards ceiling
- Man and woman playing instruments, cello and unknown instrument
- Snails spinning on vinyl record and on dolls head
Once I noted down the description of several scenes in the trailer, I then attempted to connote some of the imagery and come up with some possible interpretive responses:
- The two people bouncing on the bed could be romantically involved which is suggested by the rhythmic sound and pace of the bed springs; it is almost like they want someone to assume their romantic encounter. On the other hand, the couple are not physically touching, implying that they are not close to one another and therefore do not have any romantic involvement with one another.
- The man looking around appears as though he is fearful of something or someone. He may be hiding and trying to listen out for someone. The dark tones and shadows reflect this fearful mood.
- The man sharpening a knife appears to be a butcher, though the angle of the shot makes him look large as he fills the screen. He seems intimidating, implying a strong perhaps dark character. Also, his identity is kept hidden leaving more mystery behind the character and insinuating that there is more to him than meet the eye.