I have been unfolding a thesis about the nature of motion picture non-fictions: Many such productions can be accurately categorized as cinematic constatives. More specifically, most non-fictions are representational systems, made to discharge a certain type of communicative function. This sort of thing is an artifact, that is, an object made by someone in order to serve one or more determinate purposes. The actions involved in creating the movie produce a material structure having certain intrinsic physical properties adapted to perform certain functions. Most importantly, in making this structure, the producers, acting on diverse communicative and expressive intentions, take steps to exploit that structure's representational capacities. Unlike other artifacts, a cinematic work is devised and used to fulfill indicator functions. It is constructed with a special goal in mind, so that people attending to one or another of its states can learn the condition of something external to the movie itself. What it indicates ultimately depends not upon the structure of its intrinsic physical properties, nor upon its formal properties, but upon relations imposed during the production phase(s) between its representational elements -- images, sounds, and sequences thereof -- and extra-cinematic objects and states of affairs. Some of these indicator relations consist of natural or nomic dependencies, whereas others are subject to intentional constraints like the author's plans with respect to force and content. Meaning inheres in these systematic relations, which exist independently of the work's reception.
My central claim implies a corresponding thesis about interpretation. Though elementary and perhaps self-evident, its inner workings must now be made explicit. The core of this thesis is that an important and ordinary class of interpretive activities aim toward discovering the aforementioned objective meanings of the kind of work just described. Interpretative action, in the current sense, is a standard component of human symbolic interaction. Among other enabling conditions, it is supported