Genre - Revision Cards



  • The word 'genre' comes from the French meaning type or category.
  • Approaching films in relation to genre inevitably means treating individual films not as works of art, but as members of different categories or groupings.
  • There are two major approaches to film genre: the Descriptive Approach and the Functional Approach.
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The Descriptive Approach

  • The aim of the Descriptive Approach is to place a large number of films into a small set of groups based on common characteristics such as theme or visual style.
  • This means concentrating on the formal and stylistic qualities of films.
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The Functional Approach

  • The Functional Approach to genre focuses instead on the role genre plays in society iteself.
  • The Functional Approach examines film and the viewing of films as a shared, social ritual, with different audiences sharing common expectations and experiences.
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Benefits of Comparing Films

  • Comparing films within the same group and between different groups has several benefits.
  • Trying to decide the criteria for grouping films encourages us to study them closely.
  • Looking at the similarities and differences between films, both within groups and across different groups, helps us think about how films are understood and what their meaning might be.
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Further Notes

One of the reasons that genre movies are made is because their quick product recognition makes them easier to sell.

Studying genre reveals a pattern of repetition and difference.

Some films have identifiable similarities, but also contain new elements or similar elements used in new ways.

Genres are not fixed definitions - genre hybrids. Genres also change over time.

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