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Genre Film: A Classical Experience Amended Version: Michael Sorg Orig.: Thomas Sobchack.

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Presentation on theme: "Genre Film: A Classical Experience Amended Version: Michael Sorg Orig.: Thomas Sobchack."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genre Film: A Classical Experience Amended Version: Michael Sorg Orig.: Thomas Sobchack

2 Genre – a traditional definition Category or form of film distinguished by subject matter, theme, and techniques

3 A Genre Film Provides an experience of an ordered world.... Provides an experience of an ordered world. 1.has a fixed plot 2.obvious iconographies 3.clearly defined, yet shallow, characters 4.predictable, cathartic ending

4 Is City Lights a Genre film? Using the preceding four categories (plot, iconography, character types and cathartic ending) analyze the film City Lights Using the preceding four categories (plot, iconography, character types and cathartic ending) analyze the film City Lights Is this film a genre film? If so, what is the possible genre in which it belongs? Is this film a genre film? If so, what is the possible genre in which it belongs?

5 Artistic Excellence? Originality?NO Conformity!!!YES!!! Must follow a previous model

6 Literary source: Dracula Nosferatu (1922) Dracula (1931) Horror of Dracula (1958) Bram Stokers Dracula (1992)

7 Q: What if a films original, unique? A: It aint no genre film! This is a fiction film. Ex: Citizen Kane

8 1. PLOT is Supreme What happens is important, not why What happens is important, not why All scenes must advance the plot All scenes must advance the plot Nothing extra can be introduced at random Nothing extra can be introduced at random Keep it moving forward to build for the end Keep it moving forward to build for the end

9 2. ICONOGRAPHIES Visual shorthand to speed audience comprehension (costumes, props, settings, familiar plot situations)

10 What are the iconographies for the following genres? CostumesSetting Props, images Plot Motifs Western Horror Sci-Fi Musical

11 3. Recognizable CHARACTERS Again, theyre pre-packaged to speed comprehension. What do we know about these characters?

12 3. CHARACTERS (cont.) Typecasting is good in a genre film-- faster John Wayne Vincent Price Jason Statham

13 3. CHARACTERS (cont.) Familiar, less individualized characters help us easily assume their roles Familiar, less individualized characters help us easily assume their roles theyre unrealistically one-dimensional theyre unrealistically one-dimensional They have a clear, simple purpose in the story They have a clear, simple purpose in the story They never have to come to terms with themselves They never have to come to terms with themselves We get to live in a simple world through them find evil in life, and destroy it = We get to live in a simple world through them find evil in life, and destroy it =

14 3. CHARACTERS (cont.) Often characters are ARCHETYPES Often characters are ARCHETYPES Archetype (N) - the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype. Archetype (N) - the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype. Example: The Hero Archetype Example: The Hero Archetype

15 3. CHARACTERS (cont.) The Hero Archetype often includes the following traits (taken from Joseph Campbells Heros Journey concept: 1. Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty 2. Leaves family or land and lives with others Leaves family or land and lives with others Leaves family or land and lives with others 3. An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure or quest An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure or quest An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure or quest 4. Hero has a special weapon only he can wield Hero has a special weapon only he can wield Hero has a special weapon only he can wield 5. Hero always has supernatural help Hero always has supernatural help Hero always has supernatural help 6. The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure 7. The Journey (Trail of Trials) The Journey The Journey 8. Hero experiences atonement with the father Hero experiences atonement with the father Hero experiences atonement with the father 9. When the hero dies, he is rewarded spiritually When the hero dies, he is rewarded spiritually When the hero dies, he is rewarded spiritually

16 4. Achieve CATHARSIS catharsis (n.) emotional release (happiness, grief, etc.) experienced due to witnessing artistic expression

17 4. Catharsis (cont.) Individualvs.Group Apollonian urge to individuate (without penalty) Group of misfits IIIIWarIII Dionysian urge to sink into the herd (group wins!) Must band together

18 4. Catharsis (cont.) Hero must serve the group by providing law and order law and order stability stability survival survival

19 Other genre molds for CATHARSIS IndividualGroup Detective film Cops commit violent, anti-social acts w/o punishment Restore order in the end Swashbuckler Indiana Jones breaks laws, shoots people, etc. Forgiven because he restores order, protects people; returns to ordinary clothes/setting Musical Star is born Show must go on despite personal tragedy; wedding (social regeneration)

20 4. CATHARSIS (cont.) By being these simple characters for 2 hours, genre films help us release the daily tension between individuation and submission to the group. CLIP: Spiderman

21 Q: What is Anti-genre? A: When the predicted ending does NOT occur This produces anxiety or agitation, not catharsis!

22 Anti-Genre In Clint Eastwoods film; Unforgiven, the main character William Munny is a hired gun – essentially an assassin. (he kills for money and his name is Munny… get it?). He is an anti- heroic murderer and defies our expectations for a cowboy hero. In Clint Eastwoods film; Unforgiven, the main character William Munny is a hired gun – essentially an assassin. (he kills for money and his name is Munny… get it?). He is an anti- heroic murderer and defies our expectations for a cowboy hero.

23 Q: What is Sub-genre? Q: What is Sub-genre? Subgenre (N) is a category that is a subdivision of a larger genre. Subgenre (N) is a category that is a subdivision of a larger genre. Examples: Examples: Film Noir is a subgenre of the detective/crime genre Film Noir is a subgenre of the detective/crime genre Thriller/suspense is often hybridized with other genres (such as spy films or action thrillers). The director Alfred Hitchcock, for example was regarded as being a master of this sub-genre. Thriller/suspense is often hybridized with other genres (such as spy films or action thrillers). The director Alfred Hitchcock, for example was regarded as being a master of this sub-genre.

24 Sub-Genre The film Saving Private Ryan is a war film, which is a subgenre of the Action / Adventure genre. This means that it has some of the expected elements of an Action/Adventure film with the added, specific characteristics of a war film. The film Saving Private Ryan is a war film, which is a subgenre of the Action / Adventure genre. This means that it has some of the expected elements of an Action/Adventure film with the added, specific characteristics of a war film.

25 Q: What is Cross-genre? Cross-genre films, sometimes called hybrid films carry the characteristics of multiple genres simultaneously. Cross-genre films, sometimes called hybrid films carry the characteristics of multiple genres simultaneously. Some examples include sci-fi/horror crossovers (such as Alien), dramadies that include elements of drama and comedy, action / romance films and the list goes on. Some examples include sci-fi/horror crossovers (such as Alien), dramadies that include elements of drama and comedy, action / romance films and the list goes on.

26 Cross-genre In the film; Cowboys & Aliens, as the title suggests, there are elements of a classic western (sheriffs, small towns, gunfights) combined with modern science fiction elements (alien invaders, futuristic technology). In the film; Cowboys & Aliens, as the title suggests, there are elements of a classic western (sheriffs, small towns, gunfights) combined with modern science fiction elements (alien invaders, futuristic technology).

27 Bottom-Line: Genre film must be a strict adherence to form that opposes experimentation, novelty or tampering with the given order of things (conservative). Why? Because it allows the audience to safely identify with the genre characters, satisfies catharsis


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