FM2: British Film Topics <ul><li>Learning Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Defining British film </li></ul><ul><li>Applying horror conventions to The Descent </li></ul><ul><li>Discussing the appeal of horror </li></ul><ul><li>To make detailed notes on the 1 st 30mins of The Descent </li></ul>
What makes a British film British? <ul><li>The UK Film Council is the Government-backed lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad. </li></ul><ul><li>They help to fund film projects in the hope that they will assist the British film industry, celebrate British film culture and nurture British film talent </li></ul>
What makes a British film British? <ul><li>In order for a film of receive funding from The Film Council it has to earn 16 or more points on the Cultural Test. </li></ul><ul><li>So how British is The Descent can it be considered an example of national cinema? Read the Cultural Test information and fill in the test summary form, what aspects would it pass and fail on? </li></ul><ul><li>How is The Descent different from – or similar to – a Hollywood horror film? </li></ul>
What is a horror film? <ul><li>Defining a genre is never straightforward; genres change over time, they are complicated by hybrids, sub-genres, cycles and franchises. This is certainly true of the horror genre which can be categorized in a variety of different ways: </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrids: horror thriller/ sci-fi/ fantasy/ comedy/ adventure Sub-genres: gothic/slasher/splatter/zombie </li></ul><ul><li>Franchises: sequels, remakes </li></ul><ul><li>Cycles: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy. </li></ul><ul><li>The horror genre may also be categorized in terms of institutions (Hammer in the 1960s and 1970s, Universal in the 1930s) and nationality (J Horror, British horror, German Expressionism). That there is a recognizable category 'British horror' suggests that British horror films may be considered as part of a national cinema dealing with subject matter relevant to British audiences in a distinctive style. </li></ul><ul><li>A framework of horror conventions (to be debated and added to): </li></ul><ul><li>Horror films are set in an irrational, supernatural world. This setting distinguishes the films from other genres (western, gangster) which exist in a believable realistic world. </li></ul><ul><li>This setting also differentiates the horror film from the thriller which has a rational explanation of events (e.g. if people die in a thriller they stay dead; in a horror film they may well come back to life). </li></ul><ul><li>Despite taking place in an irrational world the horror film is governed by rigid rules - vampires can only be killed by a stake through the heart, werewolves by a silver bullet. </li></ul><ul><li>There is little moral certainty in the horror film; the audience may be encouraged to identify with or feel sympathy for the 'monster' and enjoy the deaths of the innocent victims. </li></ul><ul><li>There are certain conventions which the sub-genres share - the isolated setting, the indestructible monster, the themes of forbidden pleasures – but it is also the case that each sub-genre has its own definable conventions. </li></ul>
Definition of horror <ul><li>HORROR - Horror Films are unsettling films designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in cathartic [BT1] experience. Horror films effectively centre on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and strange and alarming events. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsions, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment, loss of identity, or fear of sexuality. </li></ul><ul><li> [BT1] catharsis (or cathartic effect) - the idea originated with the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who believed that the experience of watching tragedy is cathartic, i.e. it purges the spectator of certain strong emotions. As a result mainly of experiments by Feshbach and Singer , this idea has been developed in media effects research. Watching aggressive media output, it is proposed, does not make viewers more aggressive; quite the contrary - since the explicit aggression experienced through the media purges the viewer of aggression, the result of watching violence is less aggression. </li></ul>
How horror is The Descent? <ul><li>How many of the conventions apply to The Descent? </li></ul><ul><li>Consider your own horror knowledge and the essay you read for homework by James Rose. </li></ul><ul><li>Can you add any other conventions to the list? </li></ul>
What is the appeal of the horror genre? <ul><li>While other genres such as the thriller or gangster film may have scenes which create suspense and even revulsion for the audience, the horror genre is different in that the predominant aim of the film is to frighten the spectator, to make them feel fearful and anxious - not emotions that are usually associated with pleasure. So what is the attraction of the horror genre, and why does the audience enjoy being scared - and disappointed if the film doesn't deliver this effect? </li></ul><ul><li>A range of interpretations have been applied to the genre to try and explain its appeal: </li></ul><ul><li>The play theory: Audiences enjoy the adrenaline rush, the roller-coaster ride, secure that there is no danger- it's 'only' a film. </li></ul><ul><li>The psychoanalytic account: This interpretation argues that horror films allow audiences to gratify repressed desires. In this approach it is argued that horror films allow the audience to express these desires before repressing them again - often with the death of the monster. This idea has been particularly evident in studies of the gothic horror film where the relationship between the female victim and Dracula has been read as an expression of female sexual desire (and the male's fear of it). </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasies of power: This reading suggests that we enjoy the power of the monster and are attracted by the monster's violation of social conventions. </li></ul>
FYI <ul><li>PSYCHOANALYSIS: developed by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is the attempt to explain individual human behaviour in terms of the conflict between conscious and unconscious desires, This is done through a long-term process of analysis - or therapy - between a doctor and patient. (This process has also formed the basis for a wide range of films -serious and comic.) </li></ul><ul><li>REPRESSION: Freud defines repression as a defence mechanism. It is the way that individuals protect themselves from harmful but attractive desires (often sexual). According to Freud, such desires can never be completely repressed but return, in the form of dreams, for example. </li></ul>
Film analysis <ul><li>We will watch the first 30mins of The Descent make notes on: </li></ul><ul><li>Film Language and film style (micro) </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative and genre (macro) </li></ul><ul><li>We will feedback before the end of the lesson </li></ul>
HOMEWORK <ul><li>Continue to make detailed notes on The Descent </li></ul><ul><li>Due Wednesday 16 th Dec </li></ul><ul><li>Final drafts of micro essays </li></ul><ul><li>Post up your notes on the first 20mins of The Descent </li></ul><ul><li>Research Levi Strauss and his study on binary oppositions – post what you have learnt </li></ul><ul><li>How many binary opposition can you apply to The Descent e.g. primitive vs. modern or advanced (post with explanations) </li></ul><ul><li>While The Descent is a horror film is also has elements of other genres – how would you define the film as a hybrid genre? Give examples of sequences which include conventions of more than one genre </li></ul><ul><li>The Descent makes reference to many other films – how many can you spot? (hint the James Rose essay may help) </li></ul>
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