The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations

by Mike Figgis

Mike Figgis is the renowned musician/film-maker whose career began with the People Show in the 1970s. His film credits include Stormy Monday, Internal Affairs, the award-winning Leaving Las Vegas, as well as the innovative digital films Timecode and Hotel. His photographs have been displayed at galleries, and he has created installations for gallery spaces. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Faber & Faber, 2017
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    9780571343478 (online)

    9780571305049 (hardback)
  • Edition:
    First Edition
  • Place of Publication:
The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations
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All drama takes the form of one of 36 situations. That was Georges Polti's theory about theatre, which he put forward in his book 36 Dramatic Situations, published in French in the mid-19th century.

A century and a half later, Mike Figgis was struggling with a film treatment. He couldn't get it right. But when he turned to Polti's book, the sample situations helped clarify his ideas and broaden the landscape of his creativity. He saw just how useful this sort of a framework could be for writers, and decided to rework Polti's theory for a modern, film-focused audience.

Combining re-imagined situations with cinematic examples, and chart-based analysis of 150 great films, the resulting book is an invaluable and stimulating tool for any writer.