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Transcript of Genre G325
What is Genre?
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.
Which codes and conventions did you use in your production?
Question 1(b) requires candidates to select one production and evaluate it in relation to the following:
• Media language
In the examination, questions will be set using one of these concepts only.
Genres are recognisable through the repeated use of generic
codes and conventions:
Beyond the surface features of any genre are:
THEMETIC PRECOCCUPATIONS and
e.g Jurassic Park is about responsible application of science and technology,
where Scream is a preoccupation with the morality of teenagers.
Genre offers audiences a structure or framework
Knowledge/ familiarity of a genre helps the audience understand the narrative
Audiences gain enjoyment from “spotting the conventions” (repetition) and making comparisons with other films of the same genre
If a text deviates from the conventions it can confuse us, but at the same time we enjoy seeing the rules broken
Filmmakers have a 'tried and tested' structure to follow to ensure their film will appeal to its target audience
How did you use genre to offer your audience a framework? Do you think your target audience enjoyed spotting the conventions or seeing the rules broken?
Why do we have genres?
Steve Neale declares that 'genres are instances of repetition and difference' (Neale 1980,48).
He adds that 'difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre': mere repetition would not attract an audience
"Genre provides a framework of structuring rules, which act as a form of guidance
over the production of filmmakers and the reading/understanding of the audience"
Iconographies - Symbolic symbols associated with the genre
Narrative - Structure, open/closed
Representations - Characters/Stereotypes
Ideologies - Beliefs and ideas of the 'ideal' concept, themes
If we recognize the genre of a text it enables us to feel at home and we gain enjoyment from "spotting the conventions" (repetitions) and making comparisons with other films of the same genre.
Tom Ryall (1978)
Rick Altman (1999)
Codes are systems of signs, which create meaning.
Conventions are the generally accepted ways of doing something.
e.g camera work,
Symbolic codes show what is beneath the surface of what we see. For example, a character's actions show you how the character is feeling.
characters- similar types of characters (sometimes stereotypes), roles, personal qualities, motivations, goals, behaviour.
mise en scene
Try to include at least 2 theories
when discussing your production
Genre offers audiences 'a set of pleasures'
Emotional Pleasures - The emotional pleasures offered to audiences of genre films are particularly significant when they generate a strong audience response.
Visceral Pleasures - Visceral pleasures are 'gut' responses and are defined by how the film's stylistic construction elicits a physical effect upon its audience. This can be a feeling of revulsion, kinetic speed or a 'roller coaster ride'.
Intellectual Puzzles - Certain film genres such as the thriller offer the pleasure in trying to unravel a mystery or a puzzle. Pleasure is derived from deciphering the plot and forecasting the end or being surprised by the unexpected.
Do genres exist?
Film Theorist Rick Altman argues that there is no such thing as “pure” genre anymore. Genre is progressive, in that it will always change.
He says that generic conventions are very much a thing of the past. His theory suggests that audiences, in general have become tired of the same formula and need more to keep them entertained and to create appeal.
He says that genre is surviving due to hybridisation – or genres “borrowing” conventions from one another and thus being much more difficult to categorise.
Values are the ideological and cultural ideas embedded in a film. In a Western, the lone gunslinger represents the power of good to destroy evil. In horror films the monsters and zombies can be interpreted as metaphors for serious diseases, death or destiny. In the end the films give some hope that the audience’s worst fears can be overcome.
In Bond films (and most superhero films) the audience feel safe in knowing that Bond (or Batman, Superman, The Avengers etc) will save them from the political evils of the world – whatever they may be at the time
What genre film is this from?
What makes you think that?
Similar plots and structures, predictable situations, sequences, episodes, obstacles, conflicts and resolutions
TASK- Think of different films which the following narratives apply to. What genre do these films belong to?
Narrative One: Boy meets girl, falls in love with girl, spends most of the film trying to win her affections, she ends up liking him back in the end.
Narrative Two: A group of young teenagers decide to spend the night in the woods. One by one each group member goes missing.
is used in film to describe the visual language in films. It's the symbolic meaning we attach to images [
.] We expect to see certain objects on screen with certain genres, they are 'genre indicators'.
To construct a film within a genre, specific selections are made:-
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)
Can films always fit into a specific genre?
Can genre change?
These ideologies change over time...
the same goes for genre!
Horror through the decades
"Films have to conform to audience expectations about narrative."
-Do you agree with this?
-Does your film conform to narrative expectations? (Think about your feedback from your questionnaires)