Genre Theories


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A powerpoint using Wordl to explain different genre theories

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Genre Theories

  1. 1. { Hannah Penhall
  2. 2. Auteurism In English, Auteur means ‘Author’ which is why Auterism is the theory that a film has an author, whether that be the Director, writer, producer, actors or cinematographer. In order to qualify as an ‘Auteur’ the person must demonstrate a consistency of technical excellence, style and theme.
  3. 3. Genre Genre refers to the method based on similarities in narrative elements from which films are constructed. It is also believed that genres can branch out into subgenres. There are, however, some arguments that genre doesn’t truly exist, and example of this is John Hancock’s argument that in Hollywood there is no ‘pure genre’ as most of the films base the plot around the romantic love- orientated genre whilst blending in other genres.
  4. 4. Christian Metz Metz is a French film theorist. He applied Sigmund Freud’s pyschology and Jaques Lacan’s ‘Mirror theory’ which led him to the idea that the reason why films are a popular art is because it allows both an imperfect reflection of reality and a method to delve into an unconscious dream state.
  5. 5. Andre Bazin Bazin was a French film critic and theorist. He played a major part in the study of Post WWII films and afterwards published a book named ‘What is Film?’. His main ideas were centralized around the argument for films with ‘objective reality’ such as documentaries, and ‘invisible’ directors. He believed that ‘true continuity’ could be mastered through the use of mise-en-scene and thought that a film should reflect the directors personal vision (personalism). Bazin also argued that all films should be interpreted by the spectator which would allow constructive
  6. 6. Genre Hybrids Also known as cross-genre. It describes the method of blending the themes and elements from two or more different genres to create a new genre (genre hybrid) such as a romantic comedy or a supernatural drama.
  7. 7. High Concept of Film High concept narratives are mostly characterized as films which encourage the question ‘what if’ to be used as a catalyst for following events. This is what most Hollywood films are seen to do . It can also be used to describe a film which has implicit subtext. Another argument is that the high concept of film relates to films which develop upon a simple premise rather than a character, for example – Cowboys and Aliens. This is considered to sell to a wide audience as the concept is easy to grasp.
  8. 8. Intertexuality Otherwise known as ‘influences’. It is when ideas from other texts are used to develop a text. This contrasts to Authorship as it may be seen that there is a lack of indivuality in this process. Some structuralists believe that language can determine the subjectivity of a text, and therefore can influence other texts.
  9. 9. Richard Dyer Dyer wrote the book ‘Stars’ (1979) which alluded to the idea that the viewers perception of a film is heavily influenced by the perception of its stars. In this book he also stated that the publicity and reviews of a film will determine the audiences experience when watching it.
  10. 10. Zeitgeist How texts reflect society in a specific era. The idea was first though up by Johann Herder and a few other theorist in the Romantic era. It is associated with the general ambiance and mood of an era.
  11. 11. Codes and Conventions Conventions are certain things used in genres to make them ‘typical’, for example having a final girl in a slasher film. Using conventions is said to produce meaning in a text and are associated with the culture of the time and place. The three codes for films are technical, symbolic and written and audio which are used in most films in order to keep to the typical conventions of that genre.
  12. 12. Mark Reid Mark Reid asked the question ‘do we read genre as a noun or adjective?’. He uses the example of tomato puree in a supermarket (2001) – what would we do if it was shelved in a different part of the shop, and would the thing itself be any different? This relates to genre as he is saying that films in specific genres are all very similar, no matter whether or not they use the same conventions etc. Reid also states that something is categorized by determining who makes it, for whom, where and when.