What is a film genre?• A film genre is a structure of story that is repeated again and again. They oftenhave the same settings, character types, conflicts and values• Genres are the means by which we classify the movies that we watch; they giveorder to the many titles that are created• Genres are usually derived from one of four major components to a film: Setting,Theme, Mood and Format– Setting• Fantasy films• War film• Westerns– Theme• Science Fiction• Art films• Film Noir– Mood• Drama• Comedy• Horror• Thriller• Action and Adventure– Format• Documentary• Animation• Musical
How are film genres developed?• Genres are initially developed by a filmthat is trying to tell a new, original story.– Film studios, in their efforts to repeat previoussuccesses, will make movies that have thesame components as previously successfulfilms• Repeated success will lead to more filmsbased on the conventions of the previousfilm; studios do so because they want tobe sure that there will be an audience fora specific film• A genre will not continue if there is not anaudience for it– Zombie movies continue to be made becausethere is a very specific audience who will goand see the movies
Why are film genres so popular?• Much in the same way that genre films are created becausefilmmakers know that there will be an audience for the film (basedoff the previous film’s success), we as audiences go to see moviesbased on their genre because we know what to expect• For example: I like to see heist films, I like the twists that come in thestory, like in Ocean’s 11. Because I expect to like this style of film, I amlikely to go see a new one when it comes out if I feel that it matches theconventions of the genre• The Genre acts as a contract with the audience, they will expect thatthere will be certain elements in the movie based on its genre, ifthose elements are not present, the audience will be displeased withthe movie• Genres give directors a template to work with when they arecreating a story.
The Cycle of a Genre Movie• Gianetti (1999) argues thatGenres have 4 major cycles:• Primitive• The conventions of the genre areestablished through experimentation.• Classical• The genre at its peak. It’s conventions aresolidified.• Revisionist• The conventions of the genre arereevaluated. The boundaries of the genreare expanded.• Parodic• The conventions of the genre are satirized/ made fun of.Scary Movie -- ParodicSaw - Revisionist
Genre Conventions• A genre can be identified by the conventions that it shows• Conventions are character types, objects, themes, or settings thatoccur in the movie• It is very common for films to straddle genres by mixingthose conventions
Conventions of the Genre:Westerns• Setting: Usually takes place in the American Westbetween 1865 and 1900• Characters• Main character: Loner in Society, rugged individualist; inearly films they would often wear a white hat to signifytheir good nature• Villains: Either outlaws who are bullying the good peoplein town or Crooks who are putting on the appearance ofbeing respectable (i.e. crooked bankers)• Typical elements (from filmsite.org• Hostile elements (often Native Americans)• Guns and gun fights• Horses, trains• Bank robberies and holdups• Runaway stagecoaches• Shoot-outs and showdowns• Outlaws and sheriffs
Conventions of the Genre: Horror• Setting: Spooky places; Placesthat we are normally afraid of• Characters:– Some kind of evil villain who tries tostalk the main character(s) and killthem– There is less focus on the maincharacter, they are merely a vehicleby which we are introduced to theworld of the villain• Conflict: To destroy the evilelement and bring the world backinto order• Common Elements: Blood andGore, stylized special effects
Sub-Genre• Sub-Genres are developed when films arecreated to emulate the properties of oneparticular genre film, rather than theconventions of the genre as a whole• Examples of Sub-Genre• Spaghetti Westerns: Italian Western filmsmade by Sergio Leone• Romantic Comedies: A subset of comediesthat have predictable elements that areusually aimed towards women• Zombie Movies: Horror films that focusspecifically on Zombies• Mockumentaries: Fake documentariescreated after the style first shown in This isSpinal Tap
Sequels and Remakes• Sequels and Remakes work inmuch of the same way that Genrefilms do– The films are made based on thesuccess of previous efforts– Audiences will most likely go see thefilm because they have certainexpectations about what the film will belike– Audiences are more often than notdisappointed in the remake or sequel;this may be due to the fact that theoriginal had authentic ideas, and peopleare attracted to it because of itsfreshness, however, that freshness islost when the film is remade
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