Genre - An Introduction to Film Genre Introduction to Genre...

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An Introduction to Film Genre Introduction to Genre Genre has become a key way of thinking about film from both industrial and critical perspectives. Superficially the concept of genre seems straightforward, however, this introduction seeks to show that it is a rather more complex but also more fascinating concept than simple groupings of similar films. Genre can be used as a research methodology it can also be used as a marketing and production strategy by cultural industries. Below is a comment from cultural critic Franco Moretti who is trying to map out the extent of the penetration of the global film market by Hollywood. Moretti stresses that his methodology includes the use of genres. ...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 ’ (My emphasis on second emphasis. Moretti, 2001 : 92-93). Moretti understands genre as the construction of a range of mainstream media industry products which function to safeguard the future of the industry, by maximising and controlling the marketplace. These cultural products encourage potential consumers to enter into a pact with the industry. The industry effectively offers pre-packaged products which are familiar enough to ensure the likelihood of being pleasurable. These products are also instantly recognisable as representing a particular type of pleasure. The products are sophisticated enough to ensure to be distinct from other similar media products, by giving an impression of difference. Reducing Business Risks Business is about maximising profits and reducing commercial risk. The ability to create and package a film which is likely to have a reasonably predictable market is part of the skills-base of that industry. Both the potential audience and exhibitors recognise a media product by its generic
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likeness. Cinema chains aim to maximise audiences. They can tell from past box-office records how well particular types of film have done. Films seen as ‘difficult’ by not being easy to categorise into a genre, will be hard to distribute. If they seem too demanding of audiences they will be left to the small independent cinema outlets and be branded as ‘art cinema’ which for some commentators acts as a sort of miscellaneous genre category for ‘difficult subject matter’. ‘World Cinema’ is another rather strange category found in the video shops. The sections are usually comprised of a few martial arts movies alongside one or two films considered as canonical or fundamental to film conceived of as art. This is not meant to imply that films classified within genres are necessarily
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This note was uploaded on 08/18/2011 for the course ENG 2100 taught by Professor Christophergullen during the Spring '11 term at Seminole State College.

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Genre - An Introduction to Film Genre Introduction to Genre...

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