Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Genre Theory - Wider reading (and watching)

Once again Mrs G black has gathered lots of different resources on Genre theory to help you enlarge your understanding of the concept.

See link below:


Your first stop for all key concepts.

Why not start here?
Do genres in the cinema really exist and if so, can they be defined?

“Genres isn’t a word that pops up in every conversation about films or every review – but the idea is second nature to the movies and our awareness of them. Movies belong to genres much the way people belong to families or ethnic groups. Name one of the classic, bedrock genres – Western, comedy, musical, war film, gangster picture, science fiction, horror – and even the most casual moviegoer will come up with a mental image of it, partly visual, partly conceptual” (Richard T. Jameson, They Went Thataway, 1994, p. IX).

“The master image for genre criticism is the triangle composed of artist/film/audience. Genres may be defined as patterns/form/styles/structures which transcend individual films, and which supervise both their construction by the filmmaker, and their reading by an audience” (Tom Ryall, quoted by Stephen Neale, Genre, 1980, p. 7).

“…genre can be defined as a structural pattern which embodies a universal life pattern or myth in the materials of language… Genre is universal, basic to human perceptions of life” (John Cawelti, The Six-gun Mystique, 1975, p. 30).

As Barry Keith Grant writes in the introduction of his genre reader, “the work of defining film genres is surprisingly difficult and complex’” [1] because “…recognition of the importance of genre in the cinema is a relatively recent development….although chronologically it narrowly predates the early work of auteur criticism.” [2] Grant takes notice that until the late 1940s and early 1950s – when Robert Warshow and genre pioneer AndrĂ© Bazin wrote the first significant essays on film genre (about gangster movies and about the Western) – films were only distinguished by a phrase (for example, ‘a war movie’) “used as a convenient label to give one an idea of what the story was like, what to expect generally from a film.” [3] As before in literature, in painting and in other forms of art, “genre became a critical term, providing another conceptual framework for understanding movies.” [4] A genre classification can also double as a precise commercial study because it evokes certain audience expectations and therefore it allows one to establish classifications, comparisons, balance-sheets, valuations for the future and so on. Although it has been helpful for cinema studies, classifying films in accordance with their genre remains a difficult and risky endeavor because genre ‘impurity’ is by now, some twenty years after the solidification of genre study, a constant characteristic and a usual practice of the cinema as art and as industry.

Extract from: Offscreen.com

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