Yuping Zhao


Reconstructing real events in film is almost as old as filmmaking itself. Films based on real stories have received considerable scholarly attention, which engages a wide variety of inquiries including the question of non-fictionality and fictionality and the boundary between feature films and news. The most remarkable characteristic of real-story-based films is that they form a world of denotation, which at once constructs stories and presents facts, depicting the events while interpreting their meanings at the same time. Those films have a dimension on the meta-level, in which events—the basis of the meta-narrative—are interpreted and turned into stories. The denoted world of these films highlights the meaning through meta-interpretation, calling attention to the real life on its basic level. Such double-layered narrative of films based on real stories is investigated from a semiotic perspective in this article. It explores, through analysis of their denotation and meta-narrative, the ways in which films based on real stories simultaneously present and shape the meaning of events.


denotation; meta-narrative; films based on real stories; double-layered narrative; semiotics

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