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Genre. Film Studies. Action-Adventure Comedy Contemporary Crime Costume Drama (no coverage) Exploitation Cinema (no coverage) Film Noir Melodrama The Musical Science Fiction and Horror Teenpics The Western Tim Dirks Filmsite.org: Genres. Genre. Film Studies.

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  1. Genre Film Studies • Action-Adventure • Comedy • Contemporary Crime • Costume Drama (no coverage) • Exploitation Cinema (no coverage) • Film Noir • Melodrama • The Musical • Science Fiction and Horror • Teenpics • The Western • Tim Dirks Filmsite.org: Genres

  2. Genre Film Studies

  3. Megagenre: A large, all encompassing, umbrella genre, having no distinct subject matter or style or iconography or formulae. The megagenres of the movies might be thought of as non-fiction (documentary) film, fiction film, animated film, and experimental / underground film. Genre Film Studies

  4. Major Movie Genres (according to Tim Dirks [filmsite.org]) • Action • Adventure • Comedy • Crime/Gangster • Drama • Epics/Historical • Musicals • Science Fiction • War • Westerns Genre Film Studies

  5. Major Movie Sub-Genres (according to Tim Dirks [filmsite.org]) • Biopics • Chick Flicks • Detective/Mystery • Disaster • Fantasy • Film Noir • Guy Films • Melodrama • Road Films • Romance • Sports • Supernatural • Thrillers/Suspense Genre Film Studies

  6. Minor Movie Sub-Genres (according to Tim Dirks [filmsite.org]) • Aviation • Buddy • Caper • Chase • Espionage • Fallen Woman • Jungle • Legal • Martial Arts • Medical • Parody • Police • Political • Prison • Religious • Slasher • Swashbucklers Genre Film Studies

  7. Movie Genres/Subgenres • Action Adventure—Jungle | Martial Arts | Mountain | Spy | Swashbuckler • Art—Any genre or subgenre may be an "art" film • Comedy—Buddy | Black Comedy | Mocumentary | Parody | Road | Romantic Comedy | Satire | Screwball Comedy | Slacker • Crime—Blaxploitation | Caper | Film Noir | Gangster | Hardboiled Detective | Police Procedural | Prison | Private-Eye | Trial Films • Cult—Any genre or subgenre may be a "cult" film • Drama—Domestic | Education | Historical | Political • Epic--Biblical | Greek Myth | Historicak • Gender—Gay and Lesbian | Rape-Revenge | Women’s Pictures • Horror—Demonic Possession | Haunted House | Monster | Serial Killer | Slasher | Vampire • Life Story—Autobiography | Biopic | Diary Film • Melodrama—Disease/Disability | Ethnic Family Saga | Weepie | Yuppie Redemption • Music—Concert Films | Musicals | Rocumentary • Science Fiction and Fantasy—Cyber Punk | Disaster | Dystopia | Fantasy | Post-Apocalypse | Prehistorical | Space Opera | Supermen and Other Mutants | Time Travel • Sports—Auto Racing | Baseball | Basketball | Boxing | Football | Horse Racing | Track | Wrestling • Teen Films—Pre-Teen Comedy | Teen Sex Comedy | Coming of Age • War—Aerial Combat | Civil War | Korean | Prisoner of War | Submarine | Viet Nam | World War I | World War II • Western—Cattle Drive | Indian War | Gunfighter Film Studies Genre

  8. “The classification of texts is not just the province of academic specialists, it is a fundamental aspect of the way texts of all kinds are understood.” (Neale in Creeber p. 1) Genre Film Studies

  9. “In many cases, of course, it is likely that audiences will have some idea in advance of the kind of film (or play or programme) they are going to watch. They will have made an active choice either to watch or, if their preferences dictate, to avoid it. They will have done so on the basis of information supplied by advertising, by reviews, and previews, perhaps by a title (such as Singin’ in the Rain) or by the presence of particular performers. They are therefore likely to bring with them a set of expectations, and to anticipate that these expectations will be met in one way or another.” (Neale in Creeber 1) Genre Film Studies

  10. Relevant Terms for Genre from Hans Robert Jauss, German Reception Theorist/Reader-Response Critic “generic audience” “generic frustration” “generic tension” Genre Film Studies

  11. “In English-speaking countries, the term ‘genre’ came to be applied to literary works during the nineteenth century, at a point in history at which art of all kinds began to be industrialized, mass-produced for a popular public (Cohen, 1986, 120).”--Neale in Creeber 2) Genre Film Studies

  12. The “repertoire of elements” that identify genres (Lacey [2000], cited by Neale in Creeber 3): • Character Types • Setting • Iconography • Narrative • Style Genre Film Studies

  13. Institutional Aspects of Genre: • Scheduling • Modes of Production • Demands of Advertisers • Demands of Audiences • Developments in Adjacent Entertainment Institutions/Media (Neale in Creeber 4) Genre Film Studies

  14. Complaints Against Genre Criticism: Circularity--critics dismiss texts for failing to meet criteria they have themselves established. Prescriptiveness--critics dismiss genre shows/series for departing from Platonic “ideal” versions. (Turner in Creeber 6) Genre Film Studies

  15. Hybridity: The now common tendency to “splice” together different genres. Genre Film Studies

  16. “Genres came to be identified with impersonal, formulaic, commercial forms and distinguished from individualized art. Ironically, this represented a reversal of previous characterizations, which saw ‘high art’ as rule-bound and ordered (as evident in genres lke the sonnet and tragedy) and ‘low art’ as unconstrained by the rules of decorum (Cohen, 1986, 120).”--Neale in Creeber 2 Genre Film Studies

  17. “Some important new critical theories have challenged the primacy of genre as a basic critical concept. The next important task of genre theory is to examine these objections in order to discover to what extent they require revision of the theory of popular genres and to what extent they may require us to go ‘beyond genre’” (John Cawelti, “The Question of Popular Genres Revisited” [1997]). Genre Film Studies

  18. Film Studies Genre films essentially ask the audience, "Do you still want to believe this?" Popularity is the audience answering, "Yes."  Change in genre occurs when the audience says, "That's too infantile a form of what we believe. Show us something more complicated." And genres turn to self-parody to say, "Well, at least if we make fun of it for being infantile, it will show how far we've come." Films and television have in this way speeded up cultural history.  Leo Braudy, American film scholar Genre

  19. Film Studies • Thomas Schatz's life history of a genre (from Hollywood Genres) : • an experimental stage, during which its conventions are isolated and established, a classic stage, in which the conventions reach their “equilibrium” and are mutually understood by artist and audience, an age of refinement, during which certain formal and stylistic details embellish the form, and finally a baroque (or “mannerist,” or “self-reflexive”) stage, when the form and its establishments are accented to the point where they “themselves become the “substance” or “content” of the work. (37-38) • Thomas Schatz, American film scholar Genre

  20. Film Studies • History of Genre Criticism: • “the studio system's dual need for standarisation and product differentiation” (252) • A corrective to auteur criticism’s treatment of the movies as high art which led to more focus on “industrial conditions” • First genres of interest: western, gangster, noir • Enabled “placement” of a whole range of films auteurism could not touch • Led to a new reciprocity between art and society • From mise-en-scene (auteurism) to iconography Genre

  21. Film Studies • History of Genre Criticism: • “For such a type [of genre] to be successful means that its conventions have imposed themselves upon the general consciousness and become the accepted vehicles of a particular set of attitudes and a particular aesthetic effect. One goes to any individual example of the type with very definite expectations, and originality is to be welcomed only in the degree that it intensifies the expected experience without fundamentally altering it. Moreover, the relationship between the conventions which go to make up such a type and the real experience of its audience or the real facts of whatever situation it pretends to describe is of only secondary importance and does not determine its aesthetic force. It is only in an ultimate sense that the type appeals to its audience's experience of reality; much more immediately, it appeals to previous experience of the type itself: it creates its own field of reference.”—Robert Warshow Genre

  22. Film Studies • History of Genre Criticism: • “[T]he relationship between the conventions which go to make up such a type [genre] and the real experience of its audience or the real facts of whatever situation it pretends to describe is of only secondary importance and does not determine its aesthetic force. It is only in an ultimate sense that the type appeals to its audience's experience of reality; much more immediately, it appeals to previous experience of the type itself: it creates its own field of reference.”—Robert Warshow Genre

  23. Genre • History of Genre Criticism: • Iconography originates in the “profilmic arrangements” of “sign events”; it is “not produced by specifically filmic codes but was taken up and transformed by cinema from cultural codes already in circulation” • Buscombe on Guns in the Afternoon (256) • History and Ideology: America talking to itself (McArthur 256) Film Studies

  24. Film Studies Genre • Action-Adventure • Hard/Hyperbolic Bodies? See Jeffords quote on p. 265. • A lens for studying masculinity • Action heroes? • Pfeil (p. 266): “fantasies of class- and gender-based resistance to the advent of a post-feminist/post-Fordist world keep turning over, queasily, deliriously, into accommodations’ and in which, within a “very specifically white/male/hetero American capitalist dreamscape, inter- and/or multi-national at the top and multiracial at boththe bottom . . . all the old lines of force and division between races, classes and genders are both transgressed and redrawn.” • Tasker: “knowing visual excess” and tongue-in-cheek humor

  25. Genre • Action-Adventure (cont.) • Now making norms of gender and sexual identity strange while also reinforcing them. • Debt to the romance. • Interest in the swashbuckler—Pirates of the Caribbean • Some interesting films to consider: Crouching Tiger, Indiana Jones, Die Hard Film Studies

  26. Genre Film Studies • Comedy • Comedy’s multi-faceted nature • Study of comedy is multi-disciplinary • Comic units and narrative—are they always digressive? • Gerald Mast’s eight comic film plots:

  27. Genre • Comedy (continued) • Theories of laughter (see next slides). • Screwball Comedy: a fine website. Film Studies

  28. Comedy Theory • Notoriously incomplete and lacking in definitive answers. May well be a “fourth tray”* phenomenon. • Plessner’s thesis in Laughing and Crying. • * “A Civil Servant used to keep four trays on his desk to put his papers in. The first was marked Incoming, the second Outgoing, the third Pending, and the fourth Too difficult.”--Owen Barfield Helmuth Plessner, author of Laughing and Crying Film Studies Genre

  29. Comedy Theory • Three basic camps • Superiority--laughter reinforces social power. • Incongruity--humor the result of the “clash of incompatible discourses.” • Relief--the comic as a vent for repression. Film Studies Genre

  30. Key Questions: • Do we laugh at or with? • Is comedy innately subversive? • Is comedy congenitally offensive/politically incorrect? • What is the connection between the body and the comic? Film Studies Genre

  31. Film Studies Henri Bergson Genre

  32. Film Studies “Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” --Horace Walpole, 18th Century Genre

  33. Genre • Contemporary Crime • The Detective Film • Ratiocination • Conversative (the crime is solved) • Investigation • Dirty Harry • The Gangster Film • Contemporaneousness • Warner Brothers—known for its “social issues” movies • Warshow—see following slides • Suspense Thriller Film Studies

  34. Robert Warshow, “The Gangster as Tragic Hero” (from The Immediate Experience) Film Studies

  35. Film Studies

  36. Film Studies

  37. Genre Film Studies

  38. Genre Film Studies

  39. Genre • Film Noir • Tim Dirks’ Film Noir site. Film Studies

  40. Genre • Film Noir • (thanks to Danny Peary’s Guide for the Film Fanatic and Ephraim Katz’ Film Encyclopedia) • Signatures/Motifs • often heavily narrated • tainted characters • entangled relationships • events determined by chance • large sums of money • murder • a tough, morally ambiguous hero with a gun in his trench coat, a hat on his head, and a cigarette in his mouth • a lying, cheating, chameleon-like femme fatale--a corruptive influence who leads an essentially decent guy down a wayward path, and, ultimately, betrayal Film Studies

  41. Genre • Film Noir • frame-ups • fall guys • most scenes at night, in metaphorical darkness; heavy on shadows • tone of cynicism • Heroes and villains cynical, disillusioned, and often insecure loners • Its characters are “inextricably bound to the past and unsure or apathetic about the future” (Katz). • “[A]bounds with night scenes, both interior and exterior, with sets that suggest dingy realism, and with lighting that emphasizes deep shadows and accents the mood of fatalism” • Its “dark tones and the tense nervousness are further enhanced by the oblique choreography of the action and the doom-laden compositions and camera angles” (Katz) Film Studies

  42. Genre Film Noir Hollywood productions of the film noir style include: John Huston THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), KEY LARGO (1948), and THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950) Howard Hawks TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944) and THE BIG SLEEP (1946) Michael Curtiz' CASABLANCA (1942) and MILDRED PIERCE (1945) Tay Garnett THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946) Film Studies

  43. Genre Film Noir Billy Wilder DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945), SUNSET BLVD. (1950), and THE BIG CARNIVAL (1951) Orson Welles THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948) Otto Preminger LAURA (1944), FALLEN ANGEL (1945), and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950) Robert Siodmak PHANTOM LADY (1944), THE SUSPECT (1944), THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945), THE KILLERS (1946), THE DARK MIRROR (1946), and CRY OF THE CITY (1948) Film Studies

  44. Genre Film Noir Jacques Tourneur OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Charles Vidor GILDA (1946) George Cukor GASLIGHT (1944) Frank Tuttle THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) Fritz Lang THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944), SCARLET STREET (1945), and THE BIG HEAT (1953) Film Studies

  45. Genre Film Noir John Brahm THE LODGER (1944) and HANGOVER SQUARE (1945) Alfred Hitchcock SPELLBOUND (1945) Lewis Milestone THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946) Edward Dmytryk MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) and CORNERED (1945) André De Toth DARK WATERS (1944) and PITFALL (1948) Film Studies

  46. Genre Film Noir Stuart Heisler THE GLASS KEY (1942) Jean Negulesco THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS (1944), THREE STRANGERS (1946), NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946), and ROAD HOUSE (1948) Anthony Mann T-MEN (1947), RAW DEAL (1948), and SIDE STREET (1949) Fred Zinnemann ACT OF VIOLENCE (1949) Rudolph Maté THE DARK PAST (1948), D.O.A. (1950), and UNION STATION (1950) Film Studies

  47. Genre Film Noir Henry Hathaway KISS OF DEATH (1947) and CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948) Robert Rossen JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947) and BODY AND SOUL (1947) Abraham Polonsky FORCE OF EVIL (1948) John Cromwell DEAD RECKONING (1947) and THE RACKET (1951) Robert Montgomery LADY IN THE LAKE (1946) and RIDE THE PINK HORSE (1947) Film Studies

  48. Genre Film Noir Delmer Daves DARK PASSAGE (1947); Robert Wise THE SET-UP (1949) and THE CAPTIVE CITY (1952) Jules Dassin BRUTE FORCE (1947), THE NAKED CITY (1948), THIEVES' HIGHWAY (1949), and NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950) John Farrow THE BIG CLOCK (1948) and ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949) Elia Kazan BOOMERANG! (1947) and PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950) Film Studies

  49. Genre Film Noir Edgar G. Ulmer RUTHLESS (1948) Joseph H. Lewis THE UNDERCOVER MAN (1949) and GUN CRAZY (1949) Nicholas Ray THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949), IN A LONELY PLACE (1950), and ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951) Phil Karlson SCANDAL SHEET (1952), 99 RIVER STREET (1953), and TIGHT SPOT (1955) Samuel Fuller PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET (1953) Film Studies

  50. Genre Film Studies Film Noir Robert Aldrich KISS ME DEADLY (1955).

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