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  1. 1. Conor Norton LO1 How Do We Analyse Film How do we analyse filmThere are many different ways to analyse a film the two that we will be looking at are genreanalysis and Auteur theory. There are 7 key areas to genre analysis they are codes andconventions, setting, character, themes, narrative, iconography and ideological message, alsolook at technical features like the camera, sound, mise en scene and editing and if they are thesame as in other films in the same genre. The other way of analysing that we are looking at isAuteur theory, this is where the director an actor or editor breaks the genre conventions of thefilm they are doing by going against what other films are like in the same genre. In Auteurtheory the director can be classed as an Auteur if they:1. The filmmaker is principal ‘creator’ of a film2. The filmmaker solely creates meaning/ideological message3. The filmmaker demonstrates technical excellence4. The filmmaker makes films of artistic merit rather than commercial value5. The filmmaker makes films with an individual style and themes6. These individual styles and themes will often appear across a number of differentfilms/genres, by the same filmmaker7. The filmmaker can be a ‘jack of all trades’; director/actor/producer/scriptwriterSuch Quinton Tarantino with films such as reservoir dogs:
  2. 2. Conor NortonWhen defining genre analysis there are 7 key areas they are codes and conventions, settings,characters, themes, narrative, iconography and the ideological message. When defining genreanalysis one of the most important areas of the analysis is the codes and conventions these aresuch things as music, script, costumes, camera angles and framing. The codes and conventionsdefine the genre of the films as like music can define the genre as an example in horror themusic is also dark and ominous and builds tension for what is to come like in the film “Jaws”where the dark music builds up tension so that the audience get on the edge of their seats inanticipation of what is going to happen. The script can also define the genre as how the script iswritten it can define if the genre could be a comedy for example as if you do not have comedytiming in the script it will not be funny. Costumes and props can also define the genre as theyare very important in the film as if the costumes are not correct the film will not make sense,costumes are used well in westerns the generic costumes of hats cowboy boots and spurs andguns these help shows the audience that it is a western as no other genre have these costumesand also the colours of clothing can also define the character and genre like in the “The GoodThe Bad and The Ugly” were The GoodClint Eastwood is always wearing lightclothing like an angel and The Bad LeeVan Cleef is wearing dark clothingshowing he is evil. Another code thatdefines the genre is camera angles andframing these is possibly the best way todefine the genre as like in an actionmovie like Rambo they had to havequick clean cut shots that createexcitement for the audience which youwant with a generic action movie so thecamera angles and framing is veryimportant when defining the genre.My favourite genre is the western andrecently we went to watch the newmovie Cowboys VS Aliens which is ahybrid movie as it is a western and Sci-fi.But what make this film a western arethe 7 key areas of genre analysis like in the opening sequence of the film there is the genericcostumes of the western of cowboy hat and boots and guns and horses, the characters inopening sequence also reflect that the film is the western as in the opening sequence all thecharacters are male this is quite frequent in all westerns as women at that time were justperceived as house wives or prostitutes so there wasn’t many women characters in a western
  3. 3. Conor Nortonso this makes this film typical western, when Jake Lonergan the main character played byDaniel Craig wakes up the generic western opening with an establishing shot of the setting ofthe desert like most westerns for example Hang Em High, but then we notice that he has astrange bracelet on his wrist which looks weird and futuristic which is used in Sci-fi so it thenturns into a hybrid genre and not just a western – Hang Em High Cowboys VS Aliens Action Thriller genreThe bond movie Quantum of solace using the key areas of genre analysis starting with thelocation after watching the opening scene of the Bond film I decided that it defiantly fitted withusual action thriller opening location of dark corrupt and mysterious and is at the seedy underbelly of a big city. With the codes and convention in particular cameras this is a typical actionthriller film with allot of quick clean shots and transitions which we see in all action films whichcreate excitement and entertainment that the audiences want to see. Also the openingsequence also has classic iconography which all action thrillers have like straight away it goes toa shot of an Aston Martin car which is typical iconography of England and bond films and theirother bits of iconography like guns and car chases around the city. Also another way of definingthe genre is with the characters, all genre’s have different types of character so does the actionthriller, they always have the hero who this time is James Bond and then we have the criminalschasing them and the psychotic man who gets caught and there are characters with a dark past.In contrast “Leon” (directed by Luc Besson in 1994) whencomparing the opening Scenes the “Quantum of Solace”and “Leon” they are very similar all action fighting andshooting and all we expect from an action thriller, but as“Leon” continues we begin to realise that this film is not justyour average action film it starts to be a crime and familydrama when the girls family gets killed and Leon takes herinn. But the girl begins to get feelings for Leon when she isunder age and she tries to lead Leon on this leads to someuncomfortable viewing for the audience. I believe that thedirector Luc Besson can be classed as an Auteur as his filmgoes against the grain and breaks the codes and
  4. 4. Conor Nortonconventions of action thrillers as the film is an original idea and Luc uses his own individualstyles and themes, he also has been able to make a range of genre for this film like actionthriller and crime drama and family drama in one film, this is why I believe Luc Besson is aauteur. Auteur DirectorI have decided to choose the director Quinton Tarantino because I believe that he is a specialdirector; there are many different ways that he can be as an auteur. One of them is thatQuinton Tarantino creates all his films as an original idea and is the principal creator. Also all ofhis films are not made for commercial it is made with artistic quality and style. QuintonTarantino is also a very successful director as he uses a variety of genres for his films forexample “Reservoir Dogs” a heist film “Kill Bill” action thriller and “Inglorious Basterds” which isa war film so he then also can be classed as an auteur as he has used a wide range of genre. Is Jon Favreau an Auteur?There will be many arguments to whetherJon Favreau is an auteur based on his newfilm “Cowboys VS Aliens”. Some would saythat Jon Favreau isn’t an auteur because hisfilm Cowboys VS Aliens wasn’t an originalidea as it was an already developed comicseries which the film has been based on soJon hasn’t created an original which otherauteur have like Quinton Tarantino all hisfilms were original ideas that he hadcreated so this leads us to think that JonFavreau is not an auteur. But many wouldclass him as an auteur as has created a filmwith technical excellence with the quality of camera work, the special affects that have beenused in the film are top of the range this could lean towards that Jon is an auteur. But onceagain people may argue that does he not put commercial success before merit, as this wasadvertised as a massive film with quality but hasn’t been awarded with big awards and ratingsso is he classed as an auteur because of this. But this film does have its own individual style thathas not been used before as western movies haven’t been very big recently as comedy sci-fiand action are big at the moment so it was original to combine the old and the in one film
  5. 5. Conor Nortonespecially with the western and sci-fi being so different as the western is based on the qualityof characters and action and sci-fi is about special effects, but it has been done before StarWars but I believe that they are different as Star Wars is a sci-fi with bits of the western mixedin but Cowboys VS Aliens is split 50/50 mix of both genres and I think it works well. But theother question is do his over films have similar themes which also can be argued as his twoother famous film are “Elf” and “Iron man” 1 and 2 which are very different but do mix genresas Elf is a mix of comedy and family and Iron man is a mix of action thriller and sci-fi which isquite similar to Cowboys VS Aliens. ConclusionTo conclude the methods of auteur theory and genre analysis are very contrasting but togetherhelp understand film. As genre analysis tells us everything we need to know about the type offilm and what defines the genre and auteur theory helps us understand the quality of thedirectors for the films we are watching and both together help us understand all films we arwatching by doing analysis.