Film Critique: Encoding and Decoding

Topics: Culture, Gender, Encoding Pages: 2 (514 words) Published: February 28, 2012
In Harry M. Benshoff's and Sean Griffin's "Introduction to the Study of Film: Form and Representation," they use the terms encoding and decoding for the critique of films. Encoding is when a producer of an artwork incorporates meanings in their work whether it is intentional or non-intentional. Decoding is the viewer’s interpretation of the meaning. The decoding varies from viewer to viewer based on individual social and historical upbringing. The manner in which the producers encoded the work may also effect the viewer’s interpretation. Benshoff and Griffin used the critically acclaimed film, The Lion King, as their case study. They decoded that the villainy is linked to stereotypical traits of male homosexuality. Jamie Blanks encoded meaning into the film. Blanks encoded ideology of sexuality, class, and culture. Since the film is in the horror genre, the film might not be taken serious, thus it may be seem to have little to say about actual human relations and ideologies. According to the cultural studies model, the cultural artifact Storm Warning is the text, its producer is Jamie Blanks, and the readers are all the people that have seen the film since its release. Readers who enjoyed the film were most likely using dominant readings of the text, they cheered for the couple that were tormented throughout the movie hoping that they would find a way to defeat the “Three Bears”. Yet, whenever there are people that like something, there are always critics. The critics of the film use oppositional readings. For example, some readers may have been bothered that the film dramatized how three men living in the middle of nowhere with a “poorish” lifestyle and negative upbringing must be monsters or animals. The film brings the idea that these men must be murders and rapist because that is the way they grew up thinking. That is almost as if to say that because many African-American grew up in environments that consist of murders and drugs, that they will all...
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