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The Function Of Genre In Film

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1091 words Published: 21st Apr 2017

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Film genres are various forms or identifiable types, categories, classifications or groups of films that are recurring and have similar, familiar or instantly-recognizable patterns, syntax, filmic techniques or conventions – that include one or more of the following: settings (and props), content and subject matter, themes, mood, period, plot, central narrative events, motifs, styles, structures, situations, recurring icons (e.g., six-guns and ten-gallon hats in Westerns), stock characters (or characterizations), and stars. Many films are considered hybrids – they straddle several film genres. This is one of the many definitions for a film genre but the word ‘genre’ itself is the French word meaning ‘type’ or ‘kind’. So it can be said the genre of a film is basically what type of category a movie falls into e.g. Western, comedy, action, thriller, horror musical to name a few. However the are other subgenres (chickflicks), minor-subgenres (Blockbusters) certain movies can fall under more than one genre e.g. action-thriller.As a result some film experts will create new genres or subgenres to describe these combination films, such as action comedies or dramedies. In general, however, most films made in a specific genre, such as film noir or crime drama, follow the established structure and plot lines of that genre. Genres help prospective audiences choose movies and help indicate for whom a certain film was made and what they should expect to see i.e. in a western movie the viewer should expect to see cowboys on horseback. This categorisation also enables movie producers to target what type of audience they are selling the film too, e.g. horror movies will be aimed at thrill seeking youth audiences. By promoting films by their genre it helps the film industry from an economic standpoint since certain genres are known to generate larger box office profit than others .Film genre helps the cinematic industry as a whole by helping the audience choose which film they want to see. In addition, it also allows actors to show their talents and achieve popularity through a particular genre of film. In my essay I will discuss

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By the end of the silent era, many of the main genres were established: the melodrama, the western, the horror film, comedies, and action-adventure films (from swashbucklers to war movies). As many films started to use the same techniques and had similar plots, settings the categorization of Films into certain genres .Musicals were inaugurated with the era of the Talkies, and the genre of science-fiction films wasn’t generally popularized until the 1950s. In the 1960s cinema was beginning to be recognized as a legitimate art form .Due to increased popularity in film .As a result of increased attention film guidelines were developed to attempt to understand the significance of film. From this environment emerged (in conjunction with the literary movement) an authorization of critical studies called genre studies.Each genre had its own elements that make it stand out from others such as story line, setting, characterization, style, star actors, and creative devices such as stunts or action sequences

They were placed into specific genres based on these elements .There are various aspects to what makes a film fit into a genre an example of this is Westerns usually have certain codes: for example, a hero wears, while the villain wears a black hat; when more than one cowboy faces the other with no one in between them, there will be a shoot out, desert landscape.etc All Western films can be read as a series of codes and the variations on those codes.

There are many benefits of Categorizing films by genre makes a movie easier to promote to its target audience .As most people have a particular preference for certain genres this makes it easier for them to distinguish what kind of films they would enjoy .By knowing the genre of a movie it gives the viewer a greater chance of what to expect and whilst watching the movie they unconsciously remembers similar plot lines from past films this give them greater appreciation of the plot and ending. Genres benefit actors because some actors may have had successful films within a particular genre and achieved popularity that way. By promoting films by their genre it helps the film industry determine the popularity of the movie and how much money it will make at the box office .Film genres are comparable to musical genres or literary genres in many ways. A filmmaker often understands what elements are expected in a specific film genre and steer the film towards that end. Some actors/actresses are generally associated with a specific type of film genre, as well as scriptwriters and directors. An example of this is the late director John Ford, who worked almost entirely in the Western film genre. Actor Hugh Grant is perhaps best known for his work in the romantic comedy genre .These actors usually stick to specific genres as they are suited best to them and are successful as a result .This is also true of movie producers .when promoting a film by its genre it helps the film industry from a money making viewpoint as since certain genres are known to generate larger box office intakes than others .The period of time is also relevant i.e. what genres are popular at that time an modern day example is the Fantasy/romance Movie Twilight saga a group of about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire .The success of the Movie has encouraged other movies of similar storylines about vampires like television programmes and movies(True Blood, Vampire diaries) .Finally, film genre is useful in helping the director of the movie. Film genre makes good directors better. Film genre enables directors to use symbols and settings from past movies within the same genre to appeal to human emotions. Genre restricts the director into following the storyline accurately and prevent the use of themes that might be completely opposite from the original idea of the film and as a result lose the intended audience.

The Director must still keep within the specified genres guidelines within reason.

In conclusion, film genre plays a crucial role in the cinematic industry. It helps the scriptwriter to better focus his thoughts and words, the director to shape the flow and feel of the film in a way that will make the audience comfortable and it helps the movie going public to make choices that suit their personal taste


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