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Mollie Tuck - Bluffer's Guide

The Bluffers Guide To Film Theory: Define, supporting examples,
arguments and elucidated.
Genre Analysis
Although film genres can never be precise, they have many characteristics that
can be place in almost any film or series, allowing for familiar codes and
conventions (CC’s) to take place. These familiar CC’s are often referred to as
‘tropes’ allowing the audience to prepare for the film they are about to see, as
they know what will be in it. By analysing the different elements and subject
matters in a film, placing them in a specific genre(s) group(s), it suggests to the
audience what type of films to see. For example the audience will expect
young/animal characters, comedy, singing, easy to follow story line and a happy
ending from a Disney animated family film. However a horror would feature CC’s
such as blood, gore, frightful images and un-human beings that would not be
suitable for children, therefore their parent’s would not take them to see a horror.
Audience can be helped to prepare for a film by watching the trailer as it will
feature the familiar CC’s within it and the film. Films have one main genre,
however there is an increase amount of films that are considered to be have a
sub-genre(s) (some may call them crossbreeds or hybrids) in which the film
features CC’s of two or more genres such as rom-com (romantic comedy) which
features the a character’s mission to get the person of his/her dreams but with a
few jokes alone the way. i
Many people are safe with the idea of these ‘tropes’ and even the mixed genres,
however some films will challenge this idea for example in the 2010 hit ‘Kick As*’
a 11 year old girl is seen not only violently killing but using language that
shocked many who watched it. This was a superhero comedy film. Most
superhero adaption films are made with a family audience in mind, this one was
clearly not. They used a young girl to be a superhero, and getting her to kill so
many people without being emotional moved in anyway – even the ‘normal’
superhero characters (which are often teenage to early 20’s males) have some
sort of emotional response from some of the people they kill. She used language
associated with a older male – in fact language this extreme is seen in horror /
slasher and sometimes action when the character is in extreme pain or
annoyance. The fact she said “cu*t” so causally and without meaning made the
film turn into an uncomfortable comedy – making many unsure in what they are
watching. Despite this, many praised the film for it’s unique take on a superhero
comedy that is now starting to become more popular. Superhero films often
based around someone with powers or a gift which this film does not, however
some characters come from a dark childhood which is often associated with the
superhero genre. Other superhero films such as ‘Spiderman’ or ‘Avengers’ do not
feature things such as drugs or extreme sexual content which Kick As* does –
going against this family film idea once again.
Kiss As* is quite amusing in some form. When films first starting to become well
known (1920-1930s) this film would have been out right banned due to it’s
sexual content, violence and the use of the child. Society now accepts a lot more
than it did but it’s arguably still as discriminative than it ever was. The French
2013 film ‘Stranger by the Lake’ features homosexual interaction, although it
received outstanding praise, in also gain a huge amount of negatively from
people who found the film shocking and disgusting. Moreover, despite the fact
people are becoming more expecting of homosexually, it’s not presented in film
truthly and regularly, meaning many find it uncomfortable when it is seen. The
lead character in the films is nearly always heterosexual so to have a

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homosexual as a lead in a film is daring as they are not seen as ‘strong’ as
heterosexuals. It’s also somewhat annoying that homosexuals have to be
announced in film whereas a heterosexual does not. It would have been banned
in the 1920s right up to 1990s due to the only recent exception of homosexuality.
A homosexual relationship is of course not a ‘trope’ in drama-thriller to be fair. In
my opinion it is great that homosexually is being shown more in film and doesn’t
make me feel uncomfortable in the slightest but little girl’s swearing and killing
in a comedy does make me feel a little on edge, as many would agree. The
events of the world over time have shaped today’s films and what is now
acceptable – including Kick As*’ graphical sex and violence, pushing the
boundaries and changing the audience views which even 20 years ago would
have been a challenge.
Types of Genres: Codes and Conventions, Characteristics and Formulas,
Iconography, Semiotics and Historical Context.
Iconography is the visual images and symbols used in films, creating a familiar
association for the audience, for example a logo – when you see the Batman logo
you instantly remember Batman despite the fact it wasn’t stated. For a musical
you would expect to see a microphone, a stage of some sort but most the
dancing and singing is done in a different location and would arguably feature
Dick Van Dyke.Semiotics is the suggested meaning of a symbol for example, you
see a scar on someone’s face, you many think they are someone who fights and
maybe quite violent, so you may decide to walk away from them. However the
scar maybe a birth mark but you will go with the first thing you though. If the
character is wearing dark clothing it could also support your original though as
dark clothes are associated with ‘evil’. The audience will have different
interpretations of these symbols. These are used by filmmakers for different
reasons. One is to engage the audience and entice them to watch the film by
using familiar symbols such as explosions (which suggest to the audience the
film is an action film). This links to familiarity. The audience will go to see a genre
of film knowing that it has certain things that they expect – they expect a Hugh
Grant film to be a romantic comedy not a horror slasher. They are also used to
make the audience think – more so with semiotics – in their minds about certain
characters and the filmmaker can shock the audience if the character is not what
they originally thought. Something suggestive that plays with semiotics of it’s
characters is Lord of The Rings films, in particular the character Saruman. He
wears white clothing and has white hair which is often linked to good characters,
presenting the idea the character is pure and holy, however he is not. In fact is
‘pure’ evil. It is somewhat difficult for the audience to a register, as there is also
a similar character (Gandalf) who is presented with darker features but is in fact
a good character. Saruman should in theory be seen in a positive view from this
appearance, meaning Gandalf should be seen in a negative view. As a matter of
fact the film beautifully underestimates what the audience expects, making them
needing to work harder to definite the characters and their goals – bring the
saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” to light.
Superhero films are on the rise, but so is horror. Horror has been around since
the beginning of film, being a popular choice for film goers due to it’s CC’s but
also it’s ability to easily mix with other genres. It’s meant to frighten and awake
the audience’s worst fears in a terrifying, shocking way but some how entertain
the audience at the same time, producing an emotional experience or response
to the characters. Horror films have many different and unique styles, from the
earliest silent Nosferatu classic, to today's CGI creatures in Don't be Afraid of the
Dark - in this case often combing with sci-fi when the creature(s)are related to

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technology, or when Earth is threatened by aliens. iiSub-genres of horror includes
things such as (but not limited to) slasher, teen terror, serial killers and Satanic.
These codes have been used because they are universal for this genre and are
designed to scare the audience. They have been changed over time to
accompany the change in horror audience and what they expect – i.e. strangers
killing people in the shower has change to zombie aliens with dripping blood.
People want to be frighten in the most extreme ways, making horror more scary
then the 1960’s. iiiArguably many would suggest the difference from then and
now is the obvious fact that horrors are now being aimed at a young or juvenile
audience which has changed how horror films are made but somewhat gives a
shocking insight to the over riding fact, teenagers and young people are being
exposed to context that even ten years ago would have been frightful to think of
it’s self. Icons for horror movies may include young girls, knifes, haunted houses,
and contrasting shadow and light in darkened places. In the film Don’t be Afraid
of the Dark we see all these icons.

Narrative Structures
The way the story is told is through the narrative which is split into many
different structures and ideas, building the bones for the order of the events of
the narrative to be viewed by the audience. What I mean by this is that a film’s
story can be shown in many different aspects i.e. start middle and end which is
define by the narrative structure. A film’s story could start the other way around
or follow many different characters.
Restricted narration is presented by one character in particular and the audience
views what is happening to them through their eyes somewhat. Mystery or
surprise may be the effect of this form of narration – making the audience
unaware of what will happen next - suggesting that it is used a lot in crime as we
follow the character piecing clue together and creating a conclusion to the crime.
We often see things before other characters but not before the character we
follow. This is often used in the early Poirot films where we followed Poirot as he
uncovered facts and clues about the suspects. He would often over hear what
others were saying, meaning that we did too. This structure if often used by film
directors as it is the simplistic to write and the narrative is easy to be viewed by
the audience meaning they are more likely to watch it. It also allows for audience
to become somewhat attached to the character and understanding what they
are feeling emotional. However this type of film does indeed restrict the freedom
of viewing for the audience. It is mostly to be featured in a family film as children
would find it easier to follow. An example of this is Alice in Wonderland, as we
view the events through Alice's eyes. It can be used through out the film or in
one part i.e. the director could decide to follow the eyes of one character and
change it to another half way through the film or use a film style called ‘found
footage’.
Omniscient Narration is presented through a number of characters or at least not
limited to the main character in turn means the audience knows more than any
one character. It’s often suggested to be used more than restricted as it gives
the filmmaker and the audience freedom to look over everything. Film makers
will use this in their films as it keeps the film at a steady pace, engaging the
audience and keeping them interested, focusing on a different characters.
Suspense may be the effect. A well known example of this is the animation
Finding Nemo in which the story is told from Nemo and Nemo's dad. The

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audience views the journeys both characters go through in order to reunite. In
one scene the audience sees Dora trying to say the name of the address on a
mask that fell from a boat (the ones that took Nemo) but the audience already
knows – suspense – as they have already seen where Nemo is and they are
hoping that she reads in right in order for the reunion to happen. The audience
knows more than the characters – Nemo is unaware that his father is trying to
find him but we know he is. This causing tension between the characters and the
audience especially when we know something bad is going to happen before the
characters know. For example we know that the man from the boat will take
Nemo before he realises simply from the reaction of his father. If this was
restricted we would only follow Nemo, who would have been unaware of the man
behind him meaning we would be too. This would have surprised the audience
but there would be no suspense. A better example is the film ‘Home Alone’, were
the audience sees through the eyes of the child and the robbers. We watch the
child planet traps and we know what will happen before the robbers enter the
traps – again give the audience suspense and creating that tension. In my
opinion I prefer when a director uses this over restricted as it keeps me on the
edge of my seat and I get to understand a little bit of each character.
Macguffin is an object/ person or task of interest that the narrative revolves
around – leading the narrative and/or the characters to a conclusion or cliffhanger. However it does not need to key thing of the film as it can be an
supporting theme. Although with that in mind, the macguffin is normally an
expensive or desired item(s) by a character (or more) such as the books in the
‘Book Thief’ or on object of great importance - this could lead to a life and death
situation such as the star the ‘Nuttiest Nutcracker.’ The filmmaker will use this to
push the narrative forward and gives the audience something to focus on. It’s
curious how characters can be shaped around this and many would argue that it
helps with character development, which is something that engages the
audience a lot as they can build a emotional connection. In the ‘Nuttiest
Nutcracker’ the star that is placed on top of the tree is the macguffin as both
good and bad characters want it. When it is stolen by the rats (bad characters),
this begins a driving force for the narrative as the good characters must get it
back before Christmas. In this case the audience know that the star is a huge
part of the film and the narrative, all the events that happen in the film is
because of the journey the characters take in order to gain the star. In Good Will
Hunting, the macguffin is actually Will Hunting - a genius bully. He doesn’t have
much self-control, yet his intellect could make him a millionaire. A professor tries
to become his mentor, but first he has to mollify Will. Will’s friends like his
company, but Will’s best friend really wishes that he would use his gift to get a
good job. This kind of Macguffin is not always used simply because it’s easier to
follow a object/task then a person. However a task of finding a person rather
than following for example ‘Saving Private Ryan’, is used a lot more. In my
opinion I enjoy Macguffin as I enjoy quest films because I like to become
emotional attach to the characters and I feel I am right them with them. iv
Cause and Effect means events within the narrative are presumed to be the
result of a cause and the source of an effect i.e. a succession from one
part/event of the narrative to another, making it flow easily and makes sense to
the audience. An example of this is in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory in which
Veruca Salt tries to take one of the magic squirrels (the cause). The squirrels
believe she is a bad "nut" therefore she is thrown down the hole(the effect). The
other characters leave and continue with the story, learning from the event. Most
filmmakers use this as it’s easier to tell the story in this way but also easier for

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the audience to follow. It can be told from cause to effect or effect to cause – this
type of way challenges the normal as the audience will see the event straight
away before they see what caused it. Filmmakers such as Tarkovsky experiment
with the CC’s of the technique, creating a disrupted order of the narrative. This is
uncommon but arguably becoming more popular as it engages the audience,
making them want to stay and watch the film to find out why the effect
happened instead of the usual - to see what is happening and finding the effect
later (which can be obvious at times, making it become less engaging), leaving
them piece it all together. An example of this is Memento.
Linear structure in films that have been edited in order of events that have
happened and is somewhat similar to ‘cause and effect’ as the narrative flows in
a logical order. As with ‘cause and effect’ a filmmaker will most likely use this as
it’s easier for audience to follow, especially young children as they do not need
to piece together why events happen in the narrative as they would have seen
the cause before the effect. This means audience are more likely to see this film
than a non-linear, meaning the film will bring in a high income. This is the normal
structure for a film as it is easiest for a film to follow because it is in order, like
most stories told to children and have a basic structure that the audience can
process easily. However some films of this structure can also feature flashbacks
to help the audience understand current events/actions if not told at the start of
the film such as most young adult films (Hunger Games and Harry Potter series.)
An example of linear structure is Daddy Day Care, in which the audience follows
the story of the dads as they create the day care. From start to finish.
Non-Linear structure also follows ‘cause and effect’ however films are not edited
in coronial order, in which scenes happen in a different order (which could be
event, place or time.) (500) Days of Summer is one of these films as the
audience move back and forward in time, creating the sense that this is a
completely nonlinear story. The narrative moves in a linear way with only nine
expectations (in which that are all important and not a random device used to
create an interesting structure.) These interruptions are flash-forwards, up until
the two juxtaposed/contrasting scenes in the cinema. The story then continues in
a linear fashion and the flash-forwards become flashbacks. From this moment on
the main male character is now looking back at the relationship to try and figure
out what went wrong. Filmmakers often use this structure to create mystery and
apprehension when different parts of the narrative is revealed meaning the
audience usually does not know why this has happened and will start piecing bits
together. This is engaging for the audience but arguably can be hard to follow. v
In an open narrative structure the story has no apparent beginning, middle or
end, in terms of the actual events, which often has a unsolved plot or cliff-hanger
ending, leading to a possible sequel or left for the audience to decide what the
fate of the characters will be. As a result, these stories can last a long time, and
the series itself can continue for years. Planet of the Apes (1967) is an example
of this as it the leading character in an ambiguous ending, leaving the audience
with questions that can be answered in a sequel - in which indeed gained many
of sequels. This is used more often in television as in encourages the audience
to keep watching the next episode or to get the audience to question what could
happen. For example in the television show The Walking Dead, little Sophia went
missing but her story conclusion did not appear until many episodes later in
which left the audiences anticipating on her fate. Many believe that she would
be found as a Zombie, in which she did. Unsolved plots have a mixed with
audiences, with most not liking them. In my opinion I prefer to have a conclusion
(closed narrative) as it sets my mind at rest and not thinking about the various

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endings that could have happened. Some do enjoy this as it’s arguably exciting
and challenges their imagination. Filmmakers will use this is gain sequels which
often leads them to gaining more money because of how the audience reacts to
it. Although with that in mind, there will be often or not a conclusion sequel so
that the audience can have some peace.vi
A closed narrative structure is generally exist one unique story which the
narrative has a standard beginning, middle and an ending with all the loose ends
tied and resolved. However does not necessarily mean no sequels can be made
to a closed narrative film. There can be prequels, or a sequel. The Harry Potter
movies which total 8 separate movies involving the same characters, in which
the first three have a close ending unlike the last few films, are open, suggesting
squeals, with the last one close narrative to end the series. This is more
commonly used then open narrative because it lets the audience be at peace of
mind and let them have a final emotion, which is often happiness. It gives them a
final decision on what to make of the characters and the narrative. It is
suggested by many that the plot can fall apart if not ended as long plots over
many films can become tedious. vii
Multi-strand Narrative structure tells the narrative from more than one person's
point of view or two stories of two different people that intervene. This can be
shown in the same time period or different. An example of the same time period
is Sex in the City (the film) where there are four stories (Carrie, Samantha,
Miranda and Charlotte) which come together at the end. Each story is told from
each person’s point of view and is often intertwine with the others i.e.
seeing/mentioning the other characters and seeing the same events from each
person’s eyes. The Godfather Part 2 on the other had follows two people in
different time periods - a father and son. When the boy is younger and when he
is older before, switching time periods throughout. Despite this the film follows a
linear structure which helps the audience build understating of events. This type
of narrative structure is not normally used in film but in television soap operas
such as Sex in the City (which as adapted into a film), allowing the audience to
following many different stories and characters/events. The effect on the
audience would confusing unless you were familiar with the television show or a
show similar as following more than one story can be difficult for most people
watching a film. Which is arguably odd as many would say that it is easy to
watch on television – presumably as storylines and characters have more time to
develop in a television show unlike in a standalone film which is why films like
Sex in the City is different as fans with the show are familiar with the characters
and are used to this narrative structure. Also in film, only small parts of each
character is shown which can limit the understanding somewhat as the audience
may find it hard to link these parts together at the end. Moreover, missing a part
of the film can cause the understanding to be lost once more, losing its aim in
the few minutes the film has unlike television shows which again as more time to
repeat parts in a way. Because of these time limits many filmmakers simply
won’t make a multi-strand film unless the film requires it (normally if it is a book
adaption that has this structure.)
Tzvetan Todorov created the idea of ‘Equilibrium, Disruption, Recognition and
Repair’ in the 1960’s which is still being used, influencing film and in fact shaping
narrative structure today. He stated that narratives begins in with some sort of
normality i.e. equilibrium for the characters. Even thing is balanced and at peace
(again somewhat). Suddenly the narrative will change as an event/person or
thing interrupts the normality, creating the disruption which causes the narrative
to push on. A character recognises the disruption and often goes on a mission or

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quest to repair it by the end of the film, restoring the equilibrium. Equilibrium is
seen at the start, represented by happy emotions and iconography i.e. music,
colours and laughter. Although not always, equilibrium could be negative for the
characters for example the film Of Mice and Men, where the norm is rushing and
having one eye open. The happiness or the norm is take away between the start
and the middle of the films narrative creating a disequilibrium (disruption and
recognition) – this if often cause by a death, pain or something gone missing.
This often happens to the main characters and engages the audience as tension
is now created as the audience starts to become emotionally attached to the
character as they follow their journey to fix the disequilibrium. Before it can be
fixed, there is normally something in the way in which the main character must
overcome. This is often the climax of the film in which the audience often
becomes excited and question if the character can repair. Of cause, most of the
time the character can, leading make to equilibrium of some sorts, leaving the
audience in a happy mood and happy for the character.
I will example this theory with the example of The Nutcracker in 3D. Mary and
her brother are getting ready for Christmas. Everything is normal to them and is
at a equilibrium. Something has to become the disequilibrium and disrupts
normality which is when her brother breaks her nutcracker doll in which she is
becomes very upset. Later the Nutcracker comes alive and asks for her help to
save him and is kingdom from rats. Something goes wrong; the Nutcracker is
kidnapped and she goes to find him (the recognition). Something needs to be
done about it to get to the new equilibrium. The Nutcracker seems to be dead
but her tears brings him back to life and they are able to save the kingdom (the
repair). Back to normal again, Mary says good bye and goes home, sadden by
this. When she is home she meets a boy who looks like the Nutcracker and
becomes friends. The reason this film fits this idea because it follows the rule
exactly – leaving the audience happy that everything is back to normal and the
main character is happy.
A film that doesn’t follow this structure is Of Mice and Men. This is a film that
follows two men (George and Lenny) as they try and find work in the American
depression. It starts with would be argued as an disequilibrium as the two man
are seen running away from other man, although the audience finds out this is
normal for them - therefore this is in fact equilibrium. This disequilibrium
happens when one of the men, Lenny (who is mentally handy capped and likes
soft things such as hair and clothes) becomes friendly with Curly’s wife (her
name is never mentioned as the author of the novel the film is based on wanted
to emphases the lack of importance woman got at that time) who lets him touch
her hair. He is unaware of his strength which is mentioned and seen through the
film. He begins to hurt her (unintentionally), she scream, he panics and kills her
by accident. The realisation (recognition) by the other man George is that he
knows he has to kill Lenny (the repair) and he does. There is no equilibrium as
George is now alone and sadden but does resolve Georges problem of having
Lenny around, Furthermore because of this, it doesn’t follow Tudorov’s idea. This
will affect the audience strongly by leaving a emotional impact on the audience
as nothing has gone back to normal but also the death of Lenny who the
audience learns to love through the film. In my opinion I believe many films use
this system as most audiences enjoy a happy conclusion which it often brings,
therefore filmmakers will use this to draw audiences in. However by not using it,
film makers can experiment and leave the audience with certain messages. It
can be used to create a sequel.

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Re-equilibrium Enigma/Enigma codes suggests one or more questions to the
audience which could be answered shortly after or later on in the film. For
instance, who is that person and what are they doing? By questioning the film,
the audience becomes curious with the film, wanting to find out more, therefore
continuing to watch. Enigma codes make the audience curious as to what will
happen next as they help to move on the narrative, making the audience
continue to watch. As seem in the opening of The Silence of the Lambs a woman
is seen running through some scary looking woods, in which the audience will
begin to ask: who is she? Why is she running? As she runs on, you then see
her climb over part of an assault course, answering your questions. You then see
an FBI agent tell her that Mr Crawford wants to see her. You then ask yourself:
who is Mr Crawford and what does he want? Etc.
Action codes are important events and moments in a film which move the
narrative line on in a certain direction for instance a knock at the door would
dramatically change the events in a positive or negative way depending on who
is knocking on the door. This action can be used to change the direction of
narrative (for a variety of different reasons) but also help keep it alive. Action
codes can help teach or guide the audience to new things or moments, like
something new about a character or plot itself for instance, giving the audience
information that they need in order to understand the narrative. Action codes
can be seen in The Silence of the Lambs, when an agent asks a lady to see Jack
Crawford - this action in turn changes the narrative direction of what is about to
happen. Another action code is the "lift scene" as it suggests that she is a strong,
independent woman as she's in a lift full of men. If she had taken the stairs,
things could've also been different; she may have missed Mr Crawford and we
wouldn't have found out what he wanted.
Auteur Theoryviii
The Auteur Theory are films that are rated on the basis of the presentation of a
director (although it can be others), because his/her ‘signature’ or style that
dictates to the overall feel of the film. Certain directors (and actors) are known
for certain types of films, for example, Woody Allen (comedy), Alfred Hitchcock
(suspense and thriller) and John Wayne (westerns). One example of a director
known for his distinctive colours and sets is Wes Anderson. ix
He is the director of Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Grand
Budapest Hotel. His work often has a playful visual style with narrative
tendencies that remain consistent throughout his films. His films contain a
distinct colour scheme that links with everything from the production design to
the outfits making is films look beautiful and leaving the audience with a
fantastical feeling that all his films have. He frames his
camera mostly stationary, preferring to shoot scenes in
straight-on fashion which is very unique to him as most
directors stray from that believing that it looks too two
dimensional. This matches perfectly with his love of
colours, making his films look almost painted.
x

This is an image from The Grand Budapest Hotel where the colours all beautifully
match. The soft colours of the costumes standout from the hard colours of the
set, actually working together visually, pleasing to the eyes of the audience. Also

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this shot has been down face on, making it look painted. Again in Moonrise
Kingdom, he uses such soft beautiful colours, oranges and blues that instantly
makes the audience know that it is a Wes Anderson film.
xi

Genre VS Auteur Theory

It is argued that the auteur theory (being an auteurist), which the whole idea is
based on the personal styles/ contributions of film makers, is a better approach
than genre theory as genres are constructed out of conventions. Many follow
auteur theory as it allows the audience to know what to expect when they go to
see a certain filmmaker’s film as it will feature certain styles they know they will
enjoy. Film makers use this to gain recognition and to be different from other
filmmakers who use the genre theory. Genre theory is what audience’s judge
films on before they go and see it, depend on genre i.e. a musical film – linking
the CC’s discussed earlier. Single genres can be quite vague with sub-genres
giving the audience a more hands down idea i.e. musical adventure would
feature CC’s such as singing and a macguffin. Here is the argument. Film noir
suggests that the film maker should be creative with mirror shots and steep
overhead camera angles – but every director can do this differently. The director
builds on that suggestion but using his own personal touch as well. For
example, Anthony Mann “Desperate” (1947) and Robert Siodmak “Criss Cross”
(1949) use steep overhead angles, however each sequence is very different –
mixing the genre theory CCs of steep overhead angles with their own creative
auteur design. It can be argued that you need both to make a film work as they
both support each other but it somewhat how the director see it which is really
be the end result.
Representation
Representation of different groups of people can have a positive and negative
impact on the audience. The female group often struggles to have a positive
presentence in film, as suggested by the Feminist Film Theory by Laura Mulvey:
"The Male Gaze." She argues that films are largely made completely by man
therefore is constructed by their views and preferences for female characters
.i.e. sex objects or need saving. Females began with small roles and would simply
be supporting or for decoration. Sometimes even being removed for the main
events of the film. Film such as Sound of Music and Alien tried to allow women to
break free, giving the female characters leading strong roles instead of the weak
delicate ones. However Sound of Music ended with leading female marrying and
looking after children (seen as what women should do) and Alien ended with her
in her underwear (male fantasy) therefore they really did not help with improving
the views of women. In my opinion I believe that it did present a strong women
at the time of it’s release, however now I feel it is a weak example of positive
representation, arguable making women seem pathetic and limited. Truth to be
said in the James Bond series which James (the male) is presented as the hero,
tough and has the say. He saves the women in these films and she falls in love
with him. In the film Hanna however the leading role is female who is able to
fight and be independent, not needing to be saved by men or used as a sex
object but instead fights and kills men. This shows the women can be strong,
however this film was only released a few years ago, meaning that strong female
leads are just starting to appear.
Black/African groups also have a negative representation in films. One example
of negative representation of black/African people is in The Green Mile. This film

Mollie Tuck - Bluffer's Guide
featured what Spike Lee famously called a “magic Negro” character. A sweetnatured, mystical character whose only purpose in the film is to help the white
character gain redemption in some way.xii Despite the fact the black actor was
nominated for an Oscar, many black viewers were turned off, making them feel
disgusted that the character was weak and was a servant to the white character
- linking back to slavery. A positive representation of black/African people in film
is The Butler. It’s difficult to get an audience of all races and backgrounds to see
a film like The Butler as in all honestly race makes some people uncomfortable.
So many people, particularly African Americans, would argue that they are not
used to seeing other African Americans in film who represent family. This film
however does show a African American family that is represented with that kind
of spirit and that kind of unity and that kind of caring. The film present the
authentic representation of an African American family making them seem very
loving towards children, families and wanting the best for everyone. In my
opinion I believe that the representation of black people is improving as the
years go by.

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ii Unknown. (Unknown). Horror. Available: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/horror/ . Last accessed Nov
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iii Unknown. (Unknown). Horror. Available: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/horror/ . Last accessed Nov
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iv Unknown. (Unknown). Mcguffin. Available: http://www.elementsofcinema.com/screenwriting/mcguffin/.
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v ALLY SINYARD. (2010). Top 10. Available: http://thescriptlab.com/features/the-lists/971-top-10-bestnonlinear-films?showall=1. Last accessed Nov 2014.

vi Unknown. (Unknown). Media Terminology. Available: maxpages.com/moviedimentia/Media_Terminology.
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vii Unknown. (Unknown). Media Terminology. Available:
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viiiThomas Mental. (2014). 7 Modern Directors and Their Distinctive Visual Styles. Available:
http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/7-modern-directors-and-their-distinctive-visual-styles.html/?
a=viewall#ixzz3FrBsS7pK. Last accessed Nov 2014.

ix Tim Dirks. (Unknown). Main Film Genres. Available: http://www.filmsite.org/genres.html. Last accessed
Nov 2014.

x Unknown. (Unknown). Trailer. Available: Youtube.com. Last accessed Nov 2014.
xi Unknown. (Unknown). Auteurism and Genre Studies. Available: http://mikegrost.com/zgenre.htm. Last
accessed Nov 2014.

xii The Grio. (2012). 15 films that hurt black America. Available:
http://thegrio.com/2012/02/25/slideshows-films-that-made-the-worst-impact-on-african-americans/. Last
accessed Nov 2014.