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GENRE THEORYGenre of Films
The concept of GenreGenre theory is concerned with: Identifying the characteristics of genres The relationship between genres, audiences and texts And their producers
The concept of genre Genres develop because audiences eventually become tired of repetition. Genres are subject to changes in social attitudes, beliefs and values and have to reflect these changing social influences. Within a genre you can have variation. Producers like genre because they are constructed for a known audience, they aim them at a target market with predictable responses. They also use repeated storylines and stock characters; they also allow reuse of sets, props and actors, because studios and film companies like to save money. They are also tried and tested and provide a level of security for investors, and budget and financial returns are easier to predict. An audience likes genres because they know what to expect, and this means the audience can plan their viewing with certain expectations while enjoying subtle variations within a predictable framework. The audiences can also feel a sense of escapism, through a genre it is a consistent form of release. Furthermore the audience can engage quickly with easily recognisable plots and characters. Finally the audience enjoy predicting the outcomes of certain genres. And following on from that, the audience can feel quite safe knowing what to expect, with a sense of cultural variety.
Richard Dyer Was an influential genre theorist, who in 1973 argued that genres are pleasurable because they ‘’offer the audience escapist fantasies into fictional worlds’’ which remove the boredom and pressures of reality.
Ira Konigsberg ‘Enduring genres reflect universal dilemmas and moral conflicts and also appeal to deep psychological needs’ Human experience is repeated in every generation – the essential dilemmas of life remain the same.
Robert Allen He adopted a political stance to his theory. He said that ‘Any text requires what is sometimes called cultural capital on the part of its audience to make sense of it’ He says audiences bring their past knowledge and experience of a genre to a particular text and this enables them to understand it.
Nick Abercrombie ‘Said that we get pleasure from looking at the conventions of a genre and how they are manipulated’. He says knowing what to expect makes us enjoy the unexpected.
Repertoire of Elements Steve Neale says that genre is not a category with fixed criteria: it is dynamic. He says genre is fluid, changing over time and across cultures. He says we like to feel secure but we also need to feel a sense of surprise. E.g. what makes people laugh in one country may not in another.
A film can draw on a repertoire ofelements: Iconography and style Setting Narrative (Plot, Storyline) Characters Themes (Good V.s Evil)