A blog on Genre of Film


Genre, describing it, may sound just a categorisation of films, but has a deeper meaning while explaining it. It has a history of more than 40 years, it was started in the Hollywood by categorising the production value of a movie back in the days. Like the Big 5 (Loew’s MGM now MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, RKO) were categorised as making the big budgeted films with famous actors which would ensure higher return value. The little 3 (Universal Pictures, United Artists, Columbia Pictures) were the ones who used famous actors with good budgets which would also give significant value return and Poverty Row (Monogram Pictures, Essanay, Republic Pictures) which had small budgets with new faces and indie touch. The term Genre was a very important issue of discussion back in the 60’s which helped in identifying the production design and target audience which would lead in summarising the value of the film before the production phase. Genre also is categorisation of films according to its textual conventions, audience and critical approaches.

Can there be such a thing as a pure genre anymore?

In my opinion, yes, there can be such a thing as a pure genre. A film can be made as a pure action or a thriller or a romance or a comedy or a horror, animation, drama etc but in different textual conventions. It determines how a film has to be made. It helps in allocating the budgets, form of a film, the target audience and its critical approaches. Pure Genre can provide a convenient way to scriptwriters and film makers to produce a film. It can be more cliche ridden. Still we can see that there are some film festivals such as Fantasia Festival in Montreal, Canada which showcases Pure Genre films. It is also a fact that many films can be categorised under the banner of particular genre. Genre, has also evolved according to change in society, fashion, trends, morality, science, etc. A particular Genre can be the same as in past, but the textual conventions can be changed or lets say are changed due to the change in time and space. But these days, film genre are more sub categorised and hybridised to make larger impact on larger and collective target market.

Is it to make a Genre film interesting and entertaining these days, it must use conventions in innovative and/or hybridised ways?

Film Poster

Yes, to make a Genre film interesting and entertaining these days, it must use conventions in innovative and/or hybridised ways. A Pure Genre film can look stale and boring, so these days films are more revolutionised by adding multiple genres together to make it more interesting entertaining and nail biting. The very example i would like to present is Josephine Decker’s “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely” (2014) where she(Writer, Director) has done a magnificent job by mixing Comedy, Romance, Horror and Thriller together making the convention hybridised and impressionistic. Thus, i found this film more interesting and entertaining. Today, many films are hybridised to get larger audience. Hybridised movie also provides innovative approaches in film practice. Using conventions in innovative and hybridised ways gives filmmakers larger approach to tell the story. It also provides multi — dimensional visual content and art practice. Film like “How It Ends” (2018), Directed by David M. Rosenthal has raised the barriers for conventions by using innovative and hybridised ways while using action, adventure and drama, apocalyptic together to tell the story even it has a classic “already watched” kinda theme.

Film Poster

Thus, using conventions in innovative and/or hybridised ways ROCKS!!!

At last i agree with this idea of film scholar, Christian Metz, said that genres go through a cycle of changes over time, which he labels as stages.

a classic stage, to self-parody of the classics, to a period where films contest the proposition that they are part of the genre, and finally to a critique of the genre itself

Ref: (Metz, 1975 qtd. in Hayward, 2013, p. 185).

Ref: https://medium.com/@SAEFilmStudies/fim110genre-826473e5d766

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