chapter 3: types of movies

the idea of a narrative
o narrative
o tells a story
o type of movie
o a way of structuring fictional or fictionalized stories presented in narrative films
o a broader concept that both includes and goes beyond any of these applications
o one thing leads to another, cause and effect sequence
types of movies
narrative movies
o storyteller, directed toward fiction
o every behavior and action is predetermined
o primary purpose is entertainment
documentary movies
o nonfiction, but employ some storytelling and dramatization to shape material
o broken up into four basic approaches
o factual films: present people, places, or processes in straightforward ways meant to entertain and
instruct without unduly influencing audiences
o instructional films: seek to educate viewers about common interests, rather than persuading them
to accept particular ideas (cooking)
o persuasive films: originally called documentary films, purpose was to address social injustice
o propaganda films: systematically disseminate deceptive or distorted information
o direct cinema: enables audience to overhear conversations and interactions as they happen
experimental movies
o attempts to capture the innovative spirit of an approach to moviemaking that plays with the medium, is not
bound by established traditions, and is dedicated to exploring possibility
o also avante garde
o Camper’s list of common qualities
o not commercial, low budget
o personal, reflect creative vision of a single artist
o do not conform to conventional expectations of story and narrative cause and effect
o exploit the possibilities of the cinema, embrace innovative techniques
o critique culture and media, intentionally frustrate the viewer
o invite individual interpretation
hybrid movies
o a mix of movie forms, documentary narrative : borat
genre
o s subcategory of movie, refers to the categorization of narrative films by the stories they tell and the ways
they tell them
o western, horror, science fiction, musical, gangster
o biopics, melodramas, thrillers, romances, romcoms, fantasy
o film industry also breaks movies down into budget, studio of origin, target audience, and distribution
patterns
o emerged from literature and evolved into cinematic form in 20
th
century
o offers familiar story formulas, conventions, themes, and conflicts, which provide a blueprint for creating
and marketing a type of popular film
genre conventions
story formulas
o the way a movie’s story is structured (plot) can help viewers determine what genre a movie
belongs to
o gangster: underprivileged immigrant joins a gang, works his way to the top, becomes
corrupted, gets killed
o romcom: two people hook up, break up, reconnect
theme
o unifying idea that the film expresses through its narrative or imagery
o western movie: share a central conflict between civilization and wilderness
character types
o films are populated with specific character types
o western: gunslinging lawmen as protagonist, women prostitutes
o movie monsters: look entirely like an “other”
setting
o where a movie’s action is located and how that environment is portrayed
presentation
o many genres feature certain elements of cinematic language that communicate tone and
atmosphere
o horror movies take advantage of lighting to accentuate and deepen shadows
stars
o the actors who star in genre movies factor into how the genre is classified, analyzed, and received
by audiences
o john wayne: western
six major American genres
gangster
o deeply rooted in the American Dream, which states that anyone regardless how humble his origins, can
succeed
o two events leaded to origins of gangster movie: prohibition, stock market crash 1929
o featured protagonists that would get power through violent crime, but then fall
o audience would enjoy thrills of a daring pursuit of power, as well as satisfaction of seeing order restored
film noir
o French for black film, dark outlook, tone, and style, conveyed bleak, realistic, artistic and narrative
representations of the world
o not defined, as are Western or gangster, but by subtle qualities of tone and mood
o elevated female to antagonist, instead of supportive, “femme fatale”
o lighting schemes emphasize contrast and deep shadows
o reinforces feeling of disorientation,, many plot twists
science fiction
o originated as literary genre, explore technology and change, science-inspired anxiety
o stress otherness and fear of scientific progress
horror
o born out of a cultural need to confront and vicariously conquer something frightening that we do not fully
comprehend
o death and insanity, open endings, Halloween lighting
western
o explores tension between civilization and wilderness
o cowboys and Indians, mostly linked to place, big skies and wide open spaces
musical
o tell story using characters that express themselves with song and dance
o every line is sung, mix of song, dance, and spoken word
evolution and transformation of a genre
o filmmakers attempt to create new genres, horror musical for example
o genres develop inwardly, revenge westerns, bounty hunter westerns etc
o genre transformation: process by which a particular genre is adapted to meet the expectations of a changing
society; brokeback mountain
animation
o classified as a distinct type of motion picture
o three basic types; hand drawn, stop motion, digital
o used cel animating until digital developed
psycho a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock is a suspense horror film made and released in 1960. It featured many
elements of a classic horror film such as use of shadows to create mood and atmosphere, as well as featuring
characters from highly differ from the “normal” world. In this movie, a woman named Marion Crane steals 40,000
dollars to start a new life. After getting caught in the rain, she stumbles upon a motel called the Bates Motel, where a
strange man and his “mother” live. Shortly upon arriving, and after speaking with the owner, Norman Bates, Marion
gets stabbed to death in the shower. Investigation begins surrounding where the money and where Marion has
disappeared. We learn that Norman Bates has an unusual attachment with his mother and would do anything for her.
When a detective investigating the crime disappears, Marion’s boyfriend and sister take matters into their own hands
to find out what really is going on in the Bates Motel. They find out that Norman Bates’ mother is really dead and
has been for many years. Sneaking into the Bates’ house, they make the horrifying discovery of finding Mrs. Bates
long dead corpse, at the same time discovering Norman in a wig and dress pretending to be his mother to commit the
killings.