Film Genre

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Information about Film Genre
Entertainment

Published on February 18, 2008

Author: Venere

Source: authorstream.com

Film Genre:  Film Genre Media Issues and Debates The Concept of Genre in Film An examination of the main debates surrounding the functions and purposes of genre in film, including how, and why, definitions of particular genres change according to the contexts of their production. Media Languages Forms and Conventions: codes and conventions of different genres, historical origins and development over time, construction of realism and other codes, strengths and weaknesses of genre theory. Media Institutions: film industries ‘Hollywood studios’ production line approach to genre associated with specific studios, pre-/post production, distribution, exhibition; genre as marketing tool Media Audiences: pleasures, expectations, audience identification, fans; cults, Media Representations: character types-stereotypes and archetypes, representations of gender, race, nationality, age, sexuality etc, ideological dominant values, typecasting and genre as a ‘reading’ device.:  The Concept of Genre in Film An examination of the main debates surrounding the functions and purposes of genre in film, including how, and why, definitions of particular genres change according to the contexts of their production. Media Languages Forms and Conventions: codes and conventions of different genres, historical origins and development over time, construction of realism and other codes, strengths and weaknesses of genre theory. Media Institutions: film industries ‘Hollywood studios’ production line approach to genre associated with specific studios, pre-/post production, distribution, exhibition; genre as marketing tool Media Audiences: pleasures, expectations, audience identification, fans; cults, Media Representations: character types-stereotypes and archetypes, representations of gender, race, nationality, age, sexuality etc, ideological dominant values, typecasting and genre as a ‘reading’ device. Slide3:  In film theory, genre refers to the primary method of film categorization. A "genre" generally refers to films that share similarities in the narrative elements from which they are constructed. For example the objective of a horror movie is to scare the audience via characters actions and the narrative told. Audiences should be scared? Slide4:  WHAT IS GENRE? Genre is fundamental to communication. Genre makes information more controllable, more rule-bound. Genre makes characters predictable, and therefore transforming the world into something more controllable; it offers imaginary solutions to real problems. In film, genres are structures used by film-makers and audience for making meaning. To construct a film within a genre, specific selections are made:- e.g. Western Horses, guns, saloons e.g. Sci-Fi Spaceships, Robots, Laser guns. e.g. Gangster Speakeasy, the moll, black suits. These selections (or paradigms) are ICONOGRAPHICAL. They are SIGNIFIERS. (Iconography/ mise en scene) Genre and narrative Beyond the surface features of any genre are THEMETIC PRECOCCUPATIONS and IDEOLOGICAL EMPHASES. e.g Jurassic Park is about responsible application of science and technology, where Scream is a preoccupation with the morality of teenagers. Slide5:  Genre TEXT Institution Audience Slide6:  The Horror genre Consistently popular since the 1930s Attracts predominantly youth audiences Can reflect moral fears in society and reflect changes in attitudes Repertoire expanded through the development of specific cycles Specific studio’s associated with genre developments Specific writers/directors/stars have gained a high profile with fans Slide7:  In HOLLYWOOD, one of the most popular cycles of horror films of the 1990 began with Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). This cycle involved a reworking of earlier films in which young people were terrorized by a a ‘slasher’, eventually Cornered by the ‘final girl’. The cycle was that successful it led to a number of sequels and exploited further with a ‘spoof’ in the guise of Scary Movie (Post Modern Hollywood ~ high concept) By 2000, the Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis and described as a ‘ghost story with a twist’, was a massive worldwide hit. This was followed by Unbreakable, The Others and The Ring. Within the space of a few years the horror genre had produced Its variants from slasher horro to ghost. Since the mid 1990s the horror genre had the staus of being a high budget, mainstream genre. Slide8:  The Ring Released by Dreamworks 2002 Starred Nicole Kidman (bankability ~ investment) Extended the new ghost cycle and drew from ‘teen horror movies’ Also influenced by ‘possession’ (The Excorcist) Influenced by the successful Japanese novel Ringu (see A4 sheet) Global market U.S./ U.K/ Asia Budget $40m Successful sequel Slide9:  Industry exploitation and circulation Altman argues that film producers are to some extent responsible for developing genre cycles through the practice of including what are seen as successful elements of current box office hits in their future productions. The marketing of current films follows tried and tested patterns: Most horror releases occur in late October; the Halloween period. Filsm rely on exposure through ‘blanket’ marketing campaigns Film festivals? Synergy ~ soundtrack/ novels/ DVD release etc Creating a fandom for the genre. Slide10:  Genre and audience Audience understanding of the text Expectations and predictability Repetition and variation Horror movies aim to scare/ provide horrific experiences Plays on our nerves/ fears Pleasure of the text Ideological implications Fandom Popular culture Narrative pleasure Who is the audience for horror movies? Slide11:  Horror films in context. Audiences have a desire to experience feelings which are normally TABOO. Once horror explored the realm of the unconscious and the genre has thrived through periods of social difficulty.Graphic depictions of violence – often sex-related – often occur within horror films. It has been argued that the audience is playing out primal feelings and basic wishes or drives by proxy. Horror allows filmmakers to move away form the moral and ethical obligations of the normal social order into new AESTHETIC SPACE.The genre is usually SUBVERSIVE and CHALLENGING by adopting new controversial agendas through the safety of fiction, particularly LEGITIMATE COMPLEX ‘DARKER’ AGENDAS. It can then serve as a PROGRESSIVE FORCE in the face of increasingly reactionary stances. “The horror text it seems is consistently testing the implications of the behaviour of humankind, the impact of late industrial capitalism, the effects of historical determinism and the enduring influence of the need to preserve some notion of moral order, social value and consensual justice. Shape-changing is the chief determining concept at the heart of the horror film…nothing is certain…etc. Slide12:  So how useful is the concept of genre? Rob McInnes argues that it is nonsense to claim that genres possess clear, stable and identifiable boundaries. This challenges many of the assumptions that are held about how the genre works. We should be understanding how a film text functions in relation to genre, rather than being defined by them. McInnes argues that to simply use genre as classifying tool is Not satisfactory, nor is defining a film’s genre simply by it’s visual style. (Dracula?) We should acknowledge that a genre’s supposed features will depend on the audiences own understanding and viewing histories, and that audiences will think about genres differently from critics, academics, film makers or marketing departments. A really fascinating read in the Media Magazine Feb 2005. Title of article: Genre is Dead ~ Long Live Genre

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