(extra credit) Genre: Rules Meant to be Broken

Genres are known to consist of certain common characteristics. These characteristics can include themes, settings, narrative structures, character types, and visual styles. In the book, Film Art: An Introduction, Chapter 9 discusses four main genres: Western, Horror, Musical, and Sports.

In Westerns, the setting typically transports audiences to the American West during the 19th century, showcasing expansive landscapes, frontier towns, and rugged wilderness. Characters often include cowboys, lawmen, outlaws, and Native Americans, and the narratives explore themes of justice, morality, and individualism. The visual style emphasizes wide shots of harsh environments, featuring iconic elements like cowboy hats, boots, and horseback riding. Westerns frequently revolve around conflicts between settlers and indigenous people, as well as between law and order and lawlessness. They explore themes of survival and the clash of cultures.

Horror films are crafted to elicit fear and suspense by exploring themes of the supernatural and the unknown. These stories unfold in various settings, from haunted houses to isolated forests, with characters facing monsters, ghosts, vampires, or psychological threats. Protagonists are often faced with life-threatening situations. Dark lighting, shadows, eerie soundtracks, and techniques such as jump scares contribute to the unsettling atmosphere.

Musicals seamlessly integrate music and dance into the narrative, with characters expressing emotions through song and choreography. Spanning various genres from romantic to comedic to dramatic, musicals feature memorable songs, dance sequences, and often elaborate costumes. Musical numbers are integral to the storytelling, advancing the plot and offering insight into characters’ emotions.

Sports films focus on athletic competition, highlighting the journey of teams or individual athletes toward goals. Themes of perseverance, teamwork, and overcoming obstacles are common, and many sports films feature underdog narratives, creating a sense of rooting for the underdog. Training sequences showcase dedication, while climactic events often revolve around critical games or matches, serving as a culmination of characters’ journeys.

However, genres are not static. They evolve over time and can blend with or influence one another. Hybrid genres, which combine elements from different traditional genres, are common. For example, a film might be a romantic comedy with elements of science fiction or as previously mentioned, musicals can be interwoven with comedic, romantic, and dramatic elements. Films, such as NOPE, aim to deliberately challenge the idea of a set genre by combining a plethora of genres into one film. It then becomes more difficult to fit said film into a box and allows more imaginative flexibility. This dynamism reflects the evolving nature of filmmaking, allowing for creative innovation and diversity within the film industry.

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