District 9, Genre and Representation v3


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District 9, Genre and Representation v3

  1. 1. Genre and Representation
  2. 2. Recapping on Genre - Genre is a careful and delicate combination that Media producers must balance in order to attract their target audience. - A director for instance must balance familiarity and difference to ensure audience engagement. - This equation can be in balanced depending on who the preferred target audience is. F D The Sci-Fi genre
  3. 3. Recapping on Genre - Steve Neale (1980) “Genres are instances of repetition and difference” – it is essential for genres to deviate occasionally in order to attract and engage audiences. - Current audiences are the most informed and cine-literate audiences ever. Why? - We have seen more films than anyone in the history of the media.
  4. 4. How do we recognise Genre? Genres are recognisable through the repeated use of generic codes and conventions. If we recognise the genre of a text it enables us to feel at home and gives us a sense of familiarity and security. The existence of Genre proves repetition and familiarity gratifies and empowers an audience. However if a text deviates from the conventions it can confuse audiences, but at the same time we enjoy seeing the rules broken, providing that the film-maker doesn’t go too far.
  5. 5. Genre The concept of genre relates and fits within the Post Modernism theory Remember the Post modernism theory states, all art has been made and we now can only repeat, recycle or remix to mimic originality. This theory developed the term Hybrid genre or Hybridity. Any thing that is a hybrid is classified as Post Modern. Sci-Fi conventions Documentary style conventions Remember; If a text pays tribute to genre conventions it is defined as “Paying Homage” If a text mimics genre conventions it is defined as “Parody” Both are self aware.
  6. 6. Traditional Sci-Fi Genre Conventions 1.The narrative themes of; a)Aliens and humans coexisting b)New technologies and their consequences c) Transformation/body horror 2. The use of Polysemic narrative A polysemic narrative enables multiple readings and therefore attracts a wide audience. It uses advanced scientific events within a fictional narrative to propose and discuss a real moral debate 3. Traditional iconography (the visual images and symbols used in a work of art)
  7. 7. Sci-Fi Genre Conventions Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9” pays homage to the genre with its inclusion of the typical narrative theme of body horror. A specific intertextual reference is made to David Croenberg’s “The Fly” a previous Sci-Fi. This gratifies the preferred audiences viewing needs.
  8. 8. Typical Documentary style Genre Conventions 1.The use of on screen graphic to introduce characters/contributors 2. Camera time codes 3. Acknowledgement of the camera 4. The use of interviews/vox pops 5. The use of stock footage (3) (4) (2) (1) (5)
  9. 9. Representation Ethnicity and Gender
  10. 10. The exam formula (how to approach your exam answer) “To what extent are your chosen texts typical of their genre?” 2011 Exam Stage one – Identify your 3 texts and their genres in a introduction Stage two – For each text demonstrate an understanding of the genre conventions that apply. (Choose 3 genre conventions) Stage three – For each individual genre convention chosen, ensure you give an example of a scene reference. High grade students can link theory and contextual information to justify genre
  11. 11. The films context Apartheid The city in question is the director's hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. The film was made after apartheid was abolished. The texts offers a cold reminder of attitudes of prejudice, fear and racism. It challenges localism and questions how this concept expands and declines depending on the state of affairs. It has been 33 years since South Africa’s Soweto riots stirred the world’s disgust with that country’s regime. Remember Apartheid is the legal segregation and separation of race. The government kept blacks “apart” from whites and located them in Ghettos. The text discusses these issues but via Aliens and Humans. Race A row broke out over the film's representation of Nigerians as gang members, weapons dealers, cannibalistic, voodoo using prostitutes. A back lash from blogs complained the film would reinforce negative stereotypes of the country. A Facebook group, District 9 hates Nigerians, was also hastily created, and is urging people to sign a petition demanding an apology from the film-makers.
  12. 12. If District 9 really does hate Nigerians, it clearly hates its powerful, white characters even more. Objecting to Nigerians being portrayed as morally bankrupt criminals seems pointless when almost every group of characters in the film have little or no regard for the law and a predominately negative representation. The company in charge of shipping the aliens away from humans, MNU, and many of the white politicians giving the orders are invariably ignorant, double-crossing, ironically inhumane and corrupt. The soldiers are again white, with characteristics of being easily mind-controlled thugs, using violence, threats and tricking aliens into signing dubious eviction notices. Scientists are white and carry out underhand experiments on captured "Prawns"; Even the representation of the aliens is negative, they arm themselves with illegal weapons and brawl in the streets. Blomkamp makes it clear the Nigerians are no better or worse than their white (or alien) counterparts, creating an unsettling sort of equality among the characters. And while the film may occasionally play on clumsy racial stereotypes, it also encourages us to challenge them. All are represented in a negative nature when in power. Blomkamp passes the baton back to us as viewers to question how our own beliefs shape our opinion of representation and racism. Are we defensive when in a minority? Are we unaware when in a majority? However right or wrong or cynically you view Blomkamp’s views, what is undoubtedly true and maybe a little ironic is it is he who has the opportunity to present them and it is he who is a white middle age male.
  13. 13. District 9, A Post Modern Film? Typical features include a deliberate mixing of different artistic styles and media, the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions, Hybrid genre Satire/Parody (why should it not be entertaining for a film to discuss heavy political and spectatorship issues?) Dilution and mixture of genre Homage The postmodern author deliberately undercuts the smooth surface of his narrative and by somehow standing back and commenting on the action prevents the reader from losing themself in the story.