(Reader)The 4 Genres

While Genres in film are definitely not limited to the four listed below,  these four genres are very important in the landscape of the history of American filmmaking

The Western – one of the earliest film genres, is based on the historical reality of the American frontier and portrays the conflict between civilized order and the lawless frontier. These films often depict the struggle between settlers and outlaws.This genre is flooded with iconic imagery like settlers and wagons, cowboys and horses, and Native Americans. Over time the idea of a western flm has become more complex, whether it be challenging racial stereotypes or exploring the inner conflict of heroes.

Horror – it aims to shock and horrify viewers with monsters that may or may not violate the laws of nature. The intended emotional effect relies on these monsters, the reaction of characters to the monster’s presence, and the monster’s attack on normal life, while exploring the unknown and human fears. The horror genre has a long history, with films that range from a subtle creepy to straigth gruesome.

The Musical- this genre emerged with the introduction of recorded soundtracks in the late 1920s. Musicals are known for their emotional and visually striking musical numbers. There are two major subgenres. One is the backstage musical(42nd Street), which focuses on performers within the story. The other is the straight musical(Meet Me in St. Louis), where characters sing and dance in everyday situations. Musicals often highlight  relationships and love, with their bright and colorful sets. This genre encompasses a wide range of subject matter, from romantic comedies to biopics.

The Sports Film – This is a genre that showcases competition, often featuring the underdog overcoming the odds and being victorious. These films can revolve around the struggles facing an individual or an entire team. Being that the history of sports has been important to social change, these films often explore themes of social mobility, gender roles, and racial issues. While many sports films follow conventional plot patterns, some differ by offering a darker portrayal of athletes, which can be seen in Raging Bull or exploring issues outside of the sport itself like Offside which tackles social constraints and gender roles in Iran. Sports films have the power to combine thrilling competition with social commentary, making them a unique and diverse genre in the world of cinema.

3 thoughts on “(Reader)The 4 Genres

  1. Hi Max! This is a great summary of the four main genres in filmmaking. After watching Nope during our class screening, I believe the film actually falls in between both western and horror films. You mentioned that in western films, a common theme is the contrast between the lawless frontier and orderly civilization. This is clearly shown in the films where modern vehicles such as cars and motorcycles stops working in the face of Jean Jacket’s violence. In contrast, OJ had to rely on horses to eventually get a picture of the UFO. Additionally, this horror film is quite different from the common horror films, which commonly relies on jump scares. The director instills a different types of fear into the audience through the uncertainty of the unknown brought by Jean Jacket.

  2. I found that Jordan Peele’s “Nope” blurs genres, combining horror, science fiction, and social commentary. Peele seems to like exploring societal issues through unsettling narratives, much like sports films do through athletic competition. This reflects the evolving nature of American filmmaking, where filmmakers challenge traditional genre definitions and infuse their work with deeper themes.

  3. After watching Jordan Peele’s film “Nope”, I feel that although these 4 genres are very prominent, they are not independent of one another. The film “Nope” is a blend of sci-fi, western, horror, thriller, and so much more that I feel it can be difficult to directly categorize a film into a specific genre. Given that this a recent film, I hope that other filmmakers build off of this concept and also combine many genres into one chaotic yet organized film.

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