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See also: List of genres#Film genres and television genre
In film theory, genre ( /ˈʒɒnrə/ or /ˈdʒɒnrə/) refers to the method based on similarities in the narrative elements from which films are constructed. Most theories of film genre are borrowed from literary genre criticism. As with genre in a literary context, there is a great deal of debate over how to define or categorize genres.. Besides the basic distinction in genre between fiction and documentary (from which hybrid forms emerged founding a new genre, docufiction), film genres can be categorized in several ways.
Fictional films are usually categorized according to their setting, theme topic, mood, or format . The setting is the milieu or environment where the story and action takes place. The theme or topic refers to the issues or concepts that the film revolves around. The mood is the emotional tone of the film. Format refers to the way the film was shot (e.g., anamorphic widescreen) or the manner of presentation (e.g.: 35 mm, 16 mm or 8 mm). An additional way of categorizing film genres is by the target audience. Some film theorists argue that neither format nor target audience are film genres.
Film genres often branch out into subgenres, as in the case of the courtroom and trial-focused subgenre of drama known as the legal drama. They can be combined to form hybrid genres, such as the melding of horror and comedy in the Evil Dead films.
4 Further reading
Martin Loop argues that Hollywood films are not pure genres, because most Hollywood movies blend the love-oriented plot of the romance genre with other genres. Staiger classifies Andrew Tutor's ideas that the genre of film can be defined in four ways. The "idealist method" judges films by predetermined standards. The "empirical method" identifies the genre of a film by comparing it to a list of films already deemed to fall within a certain genre. The Apriori method uses common generic elements which are identified in advance. The "social conventions" method of identifying the genre of a film is based on the accepted cultural consensus within society. Jim Colins claims that since the 1980s, Hollywood films have been influenced by the trend towards "ironic hybridization", in which directors combine elements from different genres as with the Western/Science fiction mix in Back to the Future Part III.
Genre is always a vague term with no fixed boundaries. Many words also cross into multiple genres. Recently, film theorist Robert Stam challenged whether genres really exist, or whether they are merely made up by critics. Stam has questioned whether "genres [are] really 'out there' in the world or are they really the construction of analysts?". As well, he has asked whether there is a "... finite taxonomy of genres or are they in principle infinite?" and whether genres are "...timeless essences ephemeral, time-bound entities? Are genres culture-bound or trans-cultural?". Stam has also asked whether genre analysis should aim at being descriptive or prescriptive. While some genres are based on story content (the war film), other are borrowed from literature (comedy, melodrama) or from other media (the musical). Some are performer-based (the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films) or budget-based (blockbusters), while others are based on artistic status (the art film), racial identity (Black cinema), location (the Western), or sexual orientation (Queer Cinema)
Many genres have built-in audiences and corresponding publications that support them, such as magazines and websites. Films that are difficult to categorize into a genre are often less successful as such film genres are also useful in areas of, criticism and consumption Hollywood story consultant originality and surprise." Some screenwriters use genre as a means of...
References: Altman, Rick. Film/Genre . BFI Publishing (1999). ISBN 0-85170-717-3; ISBN 978-0-85170-717-4
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