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HISTORY OF GENRE
Theatre began in Ancient Greece 2nd/3rdCentury where
plays were performed as religious rituals.
These developed into the first tragedies and were used
as catharsis (emotional release - purging)
By Elizabethan times ,Shakespearian (1531-1592)
Plays were identified as a comedy or tragedy
For “film” originally the studio system (1920s-1950s)
produced set-recipe films so the audience knew what to
Over the years audiences wanted more, so specialised
films were released and aimed at ‘niche’ audiences.
In order to categorise films academics used either auteur
an artist ,often Director, with a certain style or signature to
his/her films (e.g. Hitchcock, Tarantino, Cohans) or genre as a way of
identifying and comparing films.
Over more recent years with media literate audiences film
genres have changed and adapted creating :
• cross-generic or sub-genres
e.g. drama-documentary, horror-comedy
e.g. zombie, apocalyptic
These merge of genres often therefore appeal to a wider target audience
• List as many Genre as you can think of
• Pick two and identify the conventions
~typical mise en scene, character, iconography, narrative, sound etc.
• Can you clearly label your product or the real media product you
~Is Genre easily defined? If not why?
• Compare Genre study to your own portfolio-
~How generic is your teaser? Does it adhere to conventions or how does it break them?
PURPOSE OF GENRE
• Be able to categorise films
• Audience can identify films with recognisable conventions
• Easier to market & sell the film
• Provides a critical tool with which to critic a film
Identify two or more reasons for why genre exists
“if you look at a newspaper, or walk into a video-store, the reality of film genres
literally leaps at you, as each film is being sold as something: a comedy, a film noir,
science fiction, whatever. Taxonomy is not a scholastic pastime, it’s a product of
the film industry itself, which makes it easier to recognise the film, and to buy
the ticket “ Moretti, 2001
Identify two or more ways of categorising genre
• Conventional aspects e.g. mise en scene
• Auteur / Director
• Production company / studio
• Stylistic elements
REPERTOIRE OF ELEMENTS
Branston & Stafford, 1999 (also associated with Nick Lacey) see also
Genres are no longer fixed elements but rather
‘repertoires of elements’, fluid systems of learnt conventions and
• Audio / visual codes
• Style (the way in which the technical elements are used)
• Narrative (storyline – how the story is told)
• Iconography (symbolic representation of images)
B R A N S TO N & S TA F F O R D ( N E A L E )
TEASER –TRAILER ANALYSIS
Your Teaser- trailer
Audio / visual codes
What repertoire of elements have you used in your teaser-trailer?
*compare to an existing real product
Genre is a dynamic and mutually determining relationship between producer , audience, and text
Thwaites et al.
see the relationship as reciprocal:
'a genre develops according to
social conditions; transformations
in genre and texts can influence
and reinforce social conditions'
NEALE & CHANDLER
Steve Neale argues that pleasure is derived from 'repetition
and difference' (Neale 1980)
recognition of familiar elements in contrast to new elements introduced
Can you think of an example ?
“Are genres really 'out there' in the world, or are they
merely the constructions of analysts? “
with so many variations and conflicting opinions, it could be questioned whether genre
Does your product support of challenge this theory ?
Create one or two slides:
Use at least one example to support or refute the argument
A D D D E F I N I T I O N S TO E A C H T E R M
R E F E R E N C E S
BRANSTON & STAFFORD: MEDIA STUDIES: THE BASICS BY JULIAN MCDOUGALL (PG. 45)
Tom Ryall (1978) distinguishes genre criticism from the two approaches dominant at the time of its development:
auteurism, and an earlier tradition which saw films as providing social documents. He sees as a central concern of
genre criticism the relationship between the art product, its source and its audience. Both auteur and 'social
document' approaches use a linear model of this relationship, privileging artist or social reality as the originating
source of the art product, which, representing their expression, is then consumed by its audience. In contrast, Ryall
suggests, the model offered by genre criticism is triangular, with art product, artist and audience as three equally
constituting moments in the production of the text -A view which posits a dynamic and mutually determining
relationship between them. The basis of this equality lies in the way the conventions of genre operate. They provide
a framework of structuring rules, in the shape of patterns/forms/ styles/structures, which act as a form of supervision'
over the work of production of film-makers and the work of reading by an audience. As a critical enterprise genre
analysis, which looks for repetitions and variations between films rather than originality or individuality, was
developed as a more appropriate tool for understanding popular cinema than authorship theories. Following the
structuralist intervention and revival of Marxist aesthetics, genre analysis enables film criticism to take account of
conditions of production and consumption of films and their relationship to ideology. Thus Ryall places his original
triangle - film/artist/audience - in two concentric circles, the first representing the studio, or particular production
institution - the film's immediate industrial context - and the second representing the social formation - here
American society, western capitalism - of which the film industry and cinematic signification are a part. Whereas the
triangular model displaces the notion of a single originating source, the concentric circles displace an earlier Marxist
linear model used to account for historical and social determination - in which the base is seen as unproblematically
reflected in the superstructure. In this reconceptualisation art and society are not opposed to each other as two
abstract and discrete entities; rather art is understood as one of the social practices in which society exists. Ryall's
model, then, attempts to grasp the range of determinants - historical, economic, social, cinematic, aesthetic,
ideological - involved in the production of meaning in the cinema, without foreclosing on the question of which
element dominates in any given instance.
[Pam Cook, The Cinema Book. 1999, BFI]