Sophie Malone                                         How to Analyse GenreFilms are categorised by genre, and there are ma...
Sophie MaloneFreddie Kruger, the way he is portrayed is very dark and sinister, and you know thatit is a horror film just ...
Sophie Maloneeerie, although at first glance it looks normal, the audience only start to suspect it later on in thefilm.Th...
Sophie Malonewhich there are always beautiful actors from start to finish, the costumes are made to make theviewer attract...
Sophie Malonescreen, as well as wide shots, pan shots are used throughout this film, it is to show a group ofcowboys or In...
Sophie Malone
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  1. 1. Sophie Malone How to Analyse GenreFilms are categorised by genre, and there are many different types of genres such as action, comedy,horror, sci-fi and western and many more. We can analyse a genre by using the 7 key areas, theseare: Codes and Conventions Location Character Iconography Recurring Themes Ideological Message NarrativeCodes and ConventionsThe codes and conventions are looked at greatly when analysing the genre, the mise en scene is oneof the main focuses, and everything is taking into consideration, this includes props setting, all ofthese elements indicate the codes and conventions. The way the something appears in frame likecostumes, lighting and actors can make an impact on a film and define the genre. Different shots areused for different genres, for example in a horror close up shots are commonly used to show thevillain closely to try and scare the audience as they see they ‘bady’ up close. For example in the Saw franchise directed by Darren Lynn Bousman we often see close up of the villain, and it does scare the audience, the shots will normally be alongside non-diegetic sound that creates fear amongst the audience. LocationThe location of a film will put label on it, for example a film set in the dessert is going to a westernfilm, or being in a haunted house in the dark is going to be a horror, genre can be easily defined bythe location, such as the 2003 film Ned Kelly directed byCharacterDifferent characters classify different genres, once the audience sees thecharacter they know what to expect, for example the cowboy and sheriff signifiesa western and a good looking but geeky looking girl and a handsome man is goingto be a romantic comedy, like the 2009 rom-com The Ugly Truth directed byRobert LuketicIconographyIconography is something iconic in a film that we can then use to place the film into a specific genre, for example in a horror movie the iconic thing is always the ‘baddie’ and the haunted house. If the villain appears on screen dark and mysterious we know from past horror movies what is going to happen. For example in the 2010 film Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Samuel Bayer, the ‘villain’ is
  2. 2. Sophie MaloneFreddie Kruger, the way he is portrayed is very dark and sinister, and you know thatit is a horror film just from this one character.Recurring ThemesRecurring themes are the themes we see over and over again in different genres,such as in action films, the themes are always the same; they are based on revengeof family or girlfriend/boyfriend, patriotism and heroes. For example the 2009 filmFast and Furious directed by Justin Lin, is an action film franchise with same theme revenge andfamily.Ideological Message The ideological message is the message within the movie that we get out of it at the end; there is always some kind of message that is being pushed at the audience. An example would be in a heist movie the message is always ‘crime doesn’t pay’ like in the film Catch Me If You Can directed by Steven Spielberg, the plot of the film is a young con artist who successfully coned people for years but was eventually caught by the FBI. In a western it would be patriotism and Frontier ship. Looking at these messages puts different films into different genres.NarrativeThe narrative is the story of the film there is always the exposition, inciting incident, risingaction, climax, and denouement. For example in a romantic comedy there is always thegeeky looking girl who leads a normal life, she then meets a handsome man who she falls inlove with. They love each other and spend a lot of time together; something then happensto split them up, the man will then do something to win her back. They both end up backtogether and in love. An example of a film that this occurs in would be the 1990 film PrettyWoman directed by Garry Marshall; this film has a definite narrative.One film that sticks to all these areas is the thriller 2007 film Disturbia directed by D. J. Caruso. The film is about a teenager who is put on house arrest, he starts to watch his neighbours and starts to suspect one is a serial killer. The film sticks to the codes and conventions of a thriller in that the mis en scene is the same. The actors is the film are stereotypical, the villain is the old rough looking killer you would expect to see and the main character is the young good looking ‘hero’ that we want to see on screen. The mise en scene is the same as of that of most thrillers; it appears very dark referring to the setting of the neighbour in question. The props used are stereotypical in thatthere is a weapon used to give the villain the power. The non-digetic sound is very tense and willscare the viewer; it allows the viewer to feel anxious and intimidated, leaving them on edge. Thediegetic sound that is used also creates fear, when the character jumps, you jump also, and it is veryloud and is used at points of the film that will amplify the audience’s fear. The location of the film is set in a popular neighbourhood in a normal family area. The House next door to the teenager is where all the disturbances occur, it’s the ‘haunted house’ of the film and it’s where you don’t want your favourite character to be. It’s dark and
  3. 3. Sophie Maloneeerie, although at first glance it looks normal, the audience only start to suspect it later on in thefilm.The characters in the film all conform to a thriller there is the young , good looking guy who savesthe day, the evil villain that the audience instantly suspect even before any incident and the youngbeautiful ‘girl next door’.Iconography in this film is the evil and disturbedvillain and the hero are both iconic in a thriller,as well as the mysterious house, and most thrillershave a secretive and dark location that can leave a viewer very scared and anxious, the differentcamera shots used are recurring in all thrillers, there are many close up shots used in this film, itallows the audience to identify the ‘goody’ and the ‘bady’.This film does use the recurring theme crime and murder; it includes ‘the chase’ in which the herocharacter Kale is trying to catch out the killer before it’s too late. There is the murderer who is verydisturbed and makes the audience feel unsettled.In the film the ideological message is that the villain will always be caught and the hero will win,from this we know the film does conform to the normal ideological message of the thriller genre.The narrative of the film is a troubled teen that is in some trouble; he becomes suspicious of one ofhis neighbours and falls for another. He starts to act on his suspicions but is proven wrong on eachmurderer but the girl is in danger, he must save the girl and catch the killer all at once. The filmconforms to the narrative as the story keeps you on edge throughout and excites as well as scares the audience just like all other thrillers. When analysing a genre we also need to look at whether the director is an auteur. Auteur is a French term meaning ‘the author’; it is when a director takes a genre such as a thriller and puts their own mark on it. They do not stick to the 7 key areas and will ‘throw away the rule book’. An auteur is also known for working in all fields of the business such asdirecting, writing and acting. Quentin Tarantino is a veryfamous auteur; his work is known for breaking away fromnormal conventions, his films such as Reservoir Dogs, Kill Billand Pulp Fiction are all perfect examples of work form an auteur. All of his films breakboundaries and are made to stun the audience.When looking at the genre romantic comedy we can compare a generic version to a rom-com that is work of an auteur. The 2011 film Just Go With It directed by Dennis Dugan is an example of a rom-com that sticks to the rules and follows the 7 key areas. In this film the codes and conventions conform to the usual in
  4. 4. Sophie Malonewhich there are always beautiful actors from start to finish, the costumes are made to make theviewer attracted to the actors on screen, everything that appears in a frame.When looking at another Rom-com the 2011 film No Strings Attached directed by known auteur IvanReitman we can see that it is similar to the mis en scene of the film Just Go With It although duringthe opening scene we see the two main characters growing up and showing them in bad clothingbecause of the year they are in, we see the characters and setting looking odd. The location and setting of the film Just Go With It is abroad on a holiday in Hawaii, it’s a recurring setting of most romantic comedy, they are always set in exotic locations or a big city filled with ‘romance’, but in the movie No Stings Attached the location is mainly in a small apartment belonging to one of the main characters, there is nothing romantic or mysterious about the setting, I believe it makes the story more relatable to the audience because of the normal and blandsetting.The two main characters in the film Just Go With are two beautiful people, andall the other supporting characters are the typical beautiful people that youwould expect to see in this genre, They are always made to look exceptionallyglamorous. The male lead (Adam Sandler is the ‘man in control’ he is the onesweeping his co star (Jennifer Aniston) of her feet. She is falling in love with him,this is the main story of all romantic comedies, the male character is always the one to pull in the girlin, and he makes the girl fall for him. However in the film No Strings Attached it is the female lead(Natalie Portman) who makes her male lead (Ashton Kutcher) for in love with her character. It is verymuch the opposite of a normal rom-com, the female lead is in control.The narrative of the two films are also different, in the film Just Go With It, there is the story of theboy and girl who have been friends, they start to be together more frequently, the boys is datingsomeone else, the girl gets jealous and realises she loves him and they eventually get together. Inthe film No Strings Attached the narrative is quiet different, the film starts with the boy and sleepingtogether and starting a ‘casual relationship’ with no emotion involved, they two characters alreadyhave a connection but do not act on it, the girl tells the boy it’s getting to serious and tells him to gofor another girl. The two both realise that they love each other, this film in fact is a back to front lovestory and does not have all the romance of normal romantic comedies.I have recently watched the film Cowboys and Aliens directed by Jon Favreau, the film isset in 1873 in Arizona; it is based on a posse of cowboys and natives setting out to defendthemselves and the rest of humanity from an invasion of aliens. It can be argued that thedirector Jon Favreau is an auteur because of this film, the movie is not a stereotypicalwestern film, although the film does have the origin of a western with the iconic setting(Arizona 1873) and the characters, the lonesome cowboy and the evil ‘head ringer’ with aposse of cowboys as well has the costumes and props, the hats, horses, riffles and horsedrawn cart, these are all known for being in a western genre. The camera angles andtechniques used within this film are similar to those of a typical western film., in a western wide shots are often used to show the huge landscape in which it is set, often it will be a dessert so this shot is used to show this on
  5. 5. Sophie Malonescreen, as well as wide shots, pan shots are used throughout this film, it is to show a group ofcowboys or Indians charging forward, this is a generic shots used throughout the western genre, italso appears in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, directed by George Roy Hill, thisis an iconic western film and the shots used within the two films are similar. The film can then bepresented as work from an auteur due to the sci-fi aspect, I believe this film can be compared to StarWars due to the sci-fi/western style of the movie as well as a typical western such as the 1960 filmThe Magnificent Seven directed by John Sturges. But the film also contains aspects of horror; thefilm is about aliens taking over, the way the aliens are portrayed is scary; it can be compared to thealien from the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. It generates fear, this iswhy the film can be considered as work by an auteur, the western genre isn’t meant to produce fear,it’s based on heroism and Frontiership. Also in the film there is a lot of blood shown, it can be verygraphic which in a western film isn’t normally shown, during scenes in which there is an attack thereis usually a gunshot and then the victim will fall, but in this film a wounded man will fall and it will beshown in quite graphic detail. Also in this film the fight scenes are very different to a typical western, a fight scene will usually consist of two rival groups riding towards each other on horseback with riffles but in the film Cowboys and Aliens a fight scene will involves cowboys on horse riding towards a flight of spaceships controlled by aliens, the scene can look bizarre due to the unnatural use of spaceships in a western. It’s not the natural setting of a typical western. But like all auteurs Jon Favreau is known for working in all trades, he is a director, actor andwriter. He as appeared in many films and is a creditable actor, as well as directing and writing muchdifferent successful film. For example one of his most recent films is Iron Man, Iron Man was one ofthe biggest films of 2008 and Jon Favreau directed and acted in the film.There are many different reasons to suggest that the film is the work of an auteur but there is alsothe argument that it isn’t. An auteur is someone that generates original ideas but this film is basedon the graphic novel of the same name as well as the film Iron Man which is based on the comicbook character that is the work of Stan Lee.I believe that the film Cowboys and Aliens is not the work of am auteur due to iconography broughtfrom the western genre and the fact that the idea does not belong to Jon Favreau himself, he hastaken the idea form book to screen. Although there is a strong argument to suggest otherwisebecause of the horror and sci-fi aspect of the film, and the director is known for acting, directing andwriting. Jon Favreau does stick to most rules of a western genre in this movie as well as other movieshe has directed.
  6. 6. Sophie Malone