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The Gangster genre and the establishment of the conventions.

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Presentation on theme: "The Gangster genre and the establishment of the conventions."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gangster genre and the establishment of the conventions.

2 Establishment of the Genre Conventions Genres work within the idea of conventions, repetition and expectations. The conventions are established by? The industry and the filmmakers. These conventions are then repeated so that audiences eventually come to expect them. The conventions can be categorised in three ways in what is referred to as…. …the Repertoire of Elements.


4 Repertoires of Elements Genres are no longer be seen as sets of fixed elements, constantly repeated, but as working with the system of conventions and expectations. Genres develop and change with time although many adhere to the same conventions established in the early days. Genre can be defined by a repertoire of elements.

5 Iconography: the physical tools of the trade. In the gangster genre it’s: Tommy guns pinstripe suits hats cars with running boards ostentatious displays of wealth (jewellery,flash cars, cigars). How many iconographic elements can you identify from the opening ten minutes of an early gangster film.

6 Ideological themes What are themes in storytelling? Death, murder, revenge, love, family loyalty etc. What are the recognisable themes in ‘Scarface’? Fear and intimidation, power and corruption, greed and materialism, friendship and loyalty?

7 What is ideology? A system of beliefs and values. The ideological message can be delivered by the media text and its producers. What ideologies or ‘belief systems can you name? Christianity, Hinduism, Communism/Socialism, Fascism, Vegetarianism, Democratic, Capitalism. Ideological beliefs can be based on your own personal views or upbringing. Many ideologies are conflicting- homosexuality and Islam. Ideologies at there most hardened can cause wars!

8 Overt and Covert Messages? What do overt and covert mean? Covert: Hidden meanings and subtexts. The producers of meaning do not always have intentional ideological meanings. e.g: ‘The Matrix’ Overt: Message is obvious from producers of meaning.e.g: ‘Supersize Me’. From the media you are given decide on the following: Is there an ideological message? What is the message? Is it overt or covert? Is the zeitgeist being reflected in any way?

9 Zeitgeist Ideology is often linked to the term zeitgeist. Zeitgeist is the spirit and mood of the time. What are the current contemporary zeitgeists. What media texts can you think of that reflect the ‘current social climate’?

10 Scarface and ideology. What’s the ideological message of ‘Scarface’? ‘Scarface’ (1932) was produced by Warner's as an anti- gangster film as the studio had to make some films with a social conscience. Films had a strong moral message that crime does not pay and the gangster will always get his comeuppance. Many of the early films could also be said to be anti-immigration, Italian immigrants the scourge of our nation in their ruthless search for the American Dream.

11 What is Narrative? The process of story telling. Narrative is sometimes referred to as the plot. Task1: from the media examples given outline the average plot in one or two sentences. However the narrative is not simply just the plot or story it is also….. What? How material is selected and arranged in order to give meaning to the audience. Task 2: write down in 5 points the plot of a children’s story. Then reorder it out of sequence.

12 Narrative Structure Not all narratives are told in the same way. Filmmakers like any other storyteller look to experiment with the structure of the story. What ways can a story be structured? Linear : the narrative is told in a chronological order of events. The majority of stories and films are still told like this. Why? Non-linear: Filmmakers will use techniques like flashbacks and forwards or cross—cutting to ‘jumble up’ the narrative form. How many film examples can you think of? ‘Titanic’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘Iron Man’………

13 Narrative in the gangster genre The gangster narrative is supposedly a fixed structure, based on the 'rise and fall' of the gangster. Most gangster narratives follow the same recurring pattern: The gangster will elevate himself out of his working class slum through organised crime. He will quickly gain wealth, power and status through fear and intimidation. The gangster will inevitably fall as greed and discontent within his organisation will bring him down. Finally he will either be killed or arrested at the narrative ending.

14 Narrative Patterns Why does the gangster narrative follow this familiar ‘rise and fall’ pattern? Because a sense of morality and responsibility has to be shown by filmmakers and studio's. Because audiences gain predictable pleasures from knowing what's going to happen.

15 Narrative Theory 1Todorov’s theory Equilibrium – Disequilibrium or enigma - New equilibrium The linear structure which can be applied ti simple narratives particularly children’s stories and action/fanstasy films. 2 Levi- Strauss theory Binary Opposites – the idea that most narratives will feature a set of binary opposites in terms of themes and characters e.g: good vs evil, urban vs rural, hero vs villain etc. 3 Propp’s theory The spheres of action – the idea that narrative is puerly character drive and that 8 main characetrs or spheres dictate the way astory is told: the hero, princess, villain, father etc.

16 Your Research Task Create a powerpoint presentation in which you analyse the concept of the repertoire of elements and apply it to your teaser trailer genre. You should have one slide for each element and research common theories associated with ideology, narrative and character types

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