A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Relationship between Pi and Richard the Tiger in the Movie Life of Pi
Yonghong Cheng & Wenyu Liu

Film discourse is a typical of multimodal discourse which contains many semiotic modalities such as image, text, sound and music. Multimodal discourse analysis (MDA) focuses on how meaning is made through the use of multiple modes of communication as opposed to just language. The MDA assisted film discourse analysis helps understand films through the interaction among different modalities as well as offer a linguistic perspective to film appreciation. Life of Pi, the winner of four Academy awards for direction, photography, visual effect and original music, makes up a good sample rich in audial and visual resources to explore the relationship between Pi and the tiger Richard. Under the guidance of systemic functional grammar and visual grammar, the study attempts to explore the relationship between Pi and Richard the tiger in film Life of Pi by analyzing how various semiotic modalities make meaning and how they contribute to understanding the film. The findings suggest that: theoretical framework based on functional grammar and visual grammar is adaptive for the film discourse Life of Pi; by virtue of linguistic and non-linguistic analysis, the relationship between Pi and the tiger is mostly determined by Pi’s attitude toward the tiger; various modalities interact to make meaning, which provides a new perspective for film appreciation. The study helps broaden the linguistic understanding of film discourse, and provides a new perspective to understand film, thus improving audience’s level of film appreciation.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v2n4a11