February 5, 2013.docx

4 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Innis College Courses
Corinn Columpar

February 5, 2013 – FILM LECTURE Today’s Topic: Genre, Part One: Defining Genre For the last four weeks, we have been emphasizing the textual (looking at the classical film, art film, radical film, postmodern film). Now we know what distinguishes these texts both narratively and figuratively. In order to discuss the intertextual and the extratextual we have to engage with a text’s relationship to other phenomena. These other phenomena are other film texts. We will study genre, auteurism and stardom. This week we will talk about the western and think about how genre plays itself out. We won’t be able to look at just one film alone, we need to think about the network of connections, the intertextual echoes among different individual westerns (when studying genre, always need to study the intertextual echoes amongst different genre films). Today, we will see clips from “High Noon”, “Shane” and “Red River”. When we study auteurism, we will look at Federico Fellini’s film “8 1/2”, “Roma”, “Fellini Satyricon”, and we will think about “La Strada” Finally, we will think about stardom and look at Bette Davis films “Now, Voyager”, “Jezebel”, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “All About Eve” To jumpstart our discussion, we will think about how genre and classical films are similar:  Genre films are more associated with classical Hollywood cinema than any other kind of film (they both have a systematized and standardized mode of production). This mode of production helped get films out quickly. There is some variation between the products in the look and the feel for all the production companies (Paramont, MGM, Columbia all had their separate feel). Certain studios became known for certain genres of film (if audiences kept coming back for a certain popular genre). Ex: MGM was incredibly well known for its musical productions, like “Singing in the Rain”, “Gigi”. Warner Bros was well known for its gangster films, like “White Heat” or “Little Ceasar”, and Universal was known for its horror films  Also, even though the genre film is linked to Hollywood, it isn’t linked to Hollywood. Many films made in recent years are classical in form, and many of the popular genres in Hollywood’s Golden Age influenced film production in North America and abroad. The transnational circulation of genre = the way genres move across space and around the world. What is a genre? We confront genres every time we choose to watch a film. A genre is a grouping of films that possess some common set of characteristics. The idea of a “deep structure” is central to the idea of genre. To identify the shared attributes of certain texts, we need to find texts of a similar genre. What comes first -> the film genre or the genre films? To resolve this issue, we need to use common cultural consensus regarding any genre to begin analysis. “Genre is what we collectively believe it to be” (Andrew Tudor’s “Theories of Film”). As audiences gain repeated exposure to certain types of films, they come to recognize the figures and the context in which the figures interact. They build the genre into a meaningful system. Definition of genre -> “A genre is a grouping of films that filmmakers and film viewers, film financiers and film critics assume to possess some common set of characteristics”. Genre provides a visual and narrative vocabulary employed to fulfill the filmmaker’s vision. For viewers, it allows them to make meaning while they are watching the film. For the film financiers, it facilitates the marketing of the film, allows them to sell the film on the market. For film critics, it provides them with a vocabulary and a reference point to judge a film. There is a contract between filmmaker and film viewer (especially in documentary filmmaking -> the contract is that the information delivered is truthful). In genre cinema, the contract speaks to those conventions that will be employed strategically by the film and by the filmmakers. The types of conventions that define a particular genre:  Visual, aural and technical (visually a genre film is characterized by certain props, certain costumes, aurally is has certain sounds and technically it has certain lighting schemes) -> there are different feels for each genre  Narrative (classical film depends on initial state of equilibrium that is then disturbed. This very rudimentary narrative is common to most genres, but they differ when it comes to the types of conflict, to the nature of the solution that is posed, to the types of protagonists that propel these series of events in the pursuit of a particular goal)  Thematic (this convention leads scholars to talk about myth as convention or ideology. How does genre work within the context of a society? What is its social function? There is an existence of thematic continuities within genres) Genre we will privilege this week: The Western We will try to define the western, at least provisionally. The origins of the western predate the development of cinema. The western was present in a great number of media, which were present before cinema (paintings from the 19 century for example, the literature of authors like “The Last of the Mohicans”, pulp romances of the 1880s or Wild West shows like “Buffalo Bill Cody’s”). The west was an arena of tremendous symbolic importance. The Western is the single most American genre that there is. But is has also been taken up in many other nations as well. In the western film, the man is associated with the plains, the open space while the woman is contained, she belongs indoors (very typical of the western film) Typical things of the western (from the clip of Shane): the creak of saloon doors opening and closing, the juxtaposition between very slow speech and very abrupt gunfire. We are introduced to a saloon setting, to certain iconography (we clearly have a good guy and a bad guy -> signaled by the color of the hats, one is black and the other is white. We know who is the hero and who is the antagonist). Shane is made to be a hero not only by his hat but also by the visual treatment of him (many low angles are used so that we are looking up at him). Also, mise en scene and cinematography work together to create a very limited color palette (westerns are dominated by fairly neutral colors). In w
More Less

Related notes for INI100H1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.