If you don’t know what Kishōtenketsu is, it is basically a type of narrative structure used mostly in China and Japan and consisting of four parts:
- Ki (起?): Topic toss or introduction, what characters appear, era, and other important information for understanding the setting of the story.
- Shō (承?): Receives or follows on from the introduction and leads to the twist in the story. Major changes do not occur.
- Ten (転?): Turn or twist to another, new or unknown topic. This is the crux of the story, which is also referred to as the 'yama' (ヤマ?) or climax. It has the biggest twist in the story.
- Ketsu (結?): Resultant, also referred to as the 'ochi' (落ち?) or ending, it wraps up the story by bringing it to its conclusion.
It started out in Chinese poetry as a four-line composition such as this example by classic poet Du Mu:
Spring of the South:
- Thousands miles of birds' singing, light green along the Yangtze river;
- Ponds and hills circling the village with flags in the soothing
- wind; Amid the four hundred and eighty temples of the South dynasty;
- How many terraces are in the misty cold rains?
I think that this type of narrative structure could work well if employed in film format, especially for a science fiction piece. So I wonder, have there ever been efforts to use Kishōtenketsu for a film story, especially a science fiction film? Would this be a viable approach or is there anything that speaks against employing this narrative structure in the medium of film?
(And while I'm not saying that the three act structure is evil and should be gotten rid of (it is a tool that has been used to great effect with films such as Alien, Die Hard, Jaws, Star Wars, Casablanca, every superhero film ever made etc), I feel that it has been used too strictly and as such most Hollywood films follow it and for me this has resulted in films feeling the same. I feel that screen writers might profit from experiementing with different ways of storytelling.)