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Film Genre, Narration, Reality Tv

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(Researched from "Film Art: An Introduction" by D. Bordwell and K. Thompson.)

"Types of films are commonly referred to as genres (pronounced "zahn-rahz"). The word genre is originally French and simply means kind or type." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 108). Genre groups films, which share similar filmic qualities and themes, into various subsections according to the type of film they are associated as.

Various film genres are recognisable by the way they are presented and patterned or the way that they portray a certain emotion or feeling, as those of humour or horror. There is no distinct way by which we can define genre. Some films incorporate various aspects of different genres, thus we cannot define exactly what kind of text-book definition genre it is and being that all people are different, a comedy to one person may be a complete bore to the next. In a sense, certain films portray their genre as a subjective opinion.

Film genre, in the modern filmic world today, is also very reliant on the actors that star in the feature. Automatically we, as viewers, would associate brawn and large stature with an action film, but occasional films tend to meld these characters into completely different subgenre, giving the film a very hybrid, generic feel to it.

Genres are ways of providing films with the intended associations. It is a convention in which people can refer to initially grasp the notion of a film, "for the vast publicity system that exists around filmmaking, genres are a simple way to characterize film. In fact, reviewers are often central in gathering and crystallizing notions about genres." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 110).

Genres are helpful in the general public as they give spectrum to different people and their different tastes. It also accommodates for any mood one may be in if they wanted to watch a film. It characterizes the films and sorts them into place for the viewer's pleasure, "At all levels of the filmmaking and film-viewing processes, then, genres help assure that most members of society share at least some general notions about the many films that compete for our attention." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 110)

Most genres share specific genre conventions. Stereotypical plots or certain predictable characters are expected to appear during a film of a desired genre. These are the conventions which group films into subgenres. Other than visual and audio conventions, those concerning mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound, lighting and editing, genres often also make boundaries around the type of thematic notions that are presented within films.

Interweaving and altering certain genres, film producers create hybrids of genres that are incorporate mixture of different filmic techniques implemented by different genres. These subgenres, as with conventional genres are not always effective. "The periods in which a genre remains popular are called cycles." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 115). Genres can only be portrayed so many times before they become old, such as with anything else in the world.

Film Narration

(Researched from "Film Art: An Introduction" by D. Bordwell and K. Thompson.)

According to D. Bordwell and K. Thompson, a narrative is considered to be, "...a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space," (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 69), otherwise also known as a story. The narrative of a film begins with an instance and throughout the film's time and space alters in story and elements in such a way that the final narration is the end product.

The narrative of a film is structured in a way that we, the viewers, can identify with and understand what is going on in the film. The sequences and events are arranged in an order such that to portray the notion of a flowing story. Causality, time and space are the governing factors behind this story or narration. The story undergoes a "cause and effect," (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 69) situation where one event leads onto another.

"A narrative may cue us to draw parallels among characters, settings, situations, times of day, or any other elements." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 69) The way in which the narrative of a film is revealed can lead the viewer to make connections between certain elements in the film such as interlinking character backgrounds or settings.

What the viewer sees onscreen is mechanically fed into the back of his/her mind and slowly they start tying in different aspects of a film as they are uncovered one after the other. By the actions or method of speech certain characters have in films, for example, the viewer can achieve a comprehensible understanding of the character and how he/she fits into the, sometimes social or other, hierarchy of the narrative of the film. This is a contributing factor towards the plot development of a film as the characters are to have an affirmative role that the viewer should be able to understand.

"...the film's plot may contain material that is extraneous to the story world." (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 71). D. Bordwell and K. Thompson use the example of nondiegetic intro music being a form of narrative to the story plot as it does set a pace and a mood for the story.

The film's plot and story are not the same thing but are closely linked in aspect. The plot mechanically uncovers a film's storyline and events while the film's story adds complexity and body to the film as a whole through diegesis. The Bordwell and Thompson CD-ROM addition describes diegesis to be, "...the world of the film's story. The diegesis includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen. See also diegetic sound, nondiegetic insert, nondiegetic sound."

Therefore the understanding of the film's narration will have a different, more in depth meaning to someone like the director as opposed to the viewer. Thus it is the director's duty to arrange the narrative in such a way that it would portray a desired notion or motif through the way it is presented.

Causality, time and space are the overall key factors governing the convergence of film narration. Precise sequencing and technical usage of these three elements is what brings about a good story narrative.

Reality T.V



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