in it’. 1 In Michael Winterbottom’s case, either he has never
been given that advice or he has ignored it.
The diversity of his output raises the issue of genre in
British filmmaking in unusually vivid terms. He has made literary
adaptations strikingly at odds with the prevailing British mode of dealing
with classic authors; there is in some of his work a strong sense of the
documentary influence at work, when he has been
Beyond genre: Le Salaire de la peur
Following Rick Altman’s argument (1999: 20) that genre is not merely
‘a hollow commercial formula’ but ‘a culturally functional category’, the
main purpose of this discussion is to study Henri-Georges Clouzot’s
Le Salaire de la peur and ‘the particular ratio it exhibits between
convention and invention, between the requirements of genre and
the ingenuity and world view of an auteur working with that genre’
(Andrew 1984: 116). Although there may be some initial hesitation
about what genre Le Salaire belongs to (for example
This collection of essays explores tragedy, the most versatile of Renaissance literary genres, revealing its astonishing thematic, stylistic and emotional range. Each chapter consists of a case study, offering not only a definition of a particular kind of Renaissance tragedy but also new research into an important example of that genre. There is only one chapter on Shakespeare; instead contributors attend to subgenres of tragedy – biblical tragedy and closet drama, for example – in which Shakespeare did not engage and others in which the nature of his influence is interrogated, producing original critical readings of individual plays which show how interventions in these subgenres can be mapped onto debates surrounding numerous important issues, including national identity, the nature of divine authority, early modern youth culture, gender and ethics, as well as questions relating to sovereignty and political intervention. The chapters also highlight the rich range of styles adopted by the early modern tragic dramatists and show how opportunely the genre as a whole is positioned for speaking truth to power. Collectively, these essays reassess the various sub-genres of Renaissance tragedy in ways which respond to the radical changes that have affected the critical landscape over the last few decades.
Previous studies of screen performance have tended to fix upon star actors, directors, or programme makers, or they have concentrated upon particular training and acting styles. Moving outside of these confines, this book provides an interdisciplinary account of performance in film and television and examines a much neglected area in people's understanding of how popular genres and performance intersect on screen. The advent of star studies certainly challenged the traditional notion of the director as the single or most important creative force in a film. Genre theory emerged as an academic area in the 1960s and 1970s, partly as a reaction to the auteurism of the period and partly as a way of addressing popular cinematic forms. Television studies have also developed catalogues of genres, some specific to the medium and some that refer to familiar cinematic genres. The book describes certain acting patterns in the classic noirs Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past and the neo-noirs Chinatown. British television drama in the 1970s had a special interest in the genre of horror. There is no film genre to which performance is as crucial as it is to the biopic. To explore comedy performance is to acknowledge that there is something that defines a performance as 'comic'. The book also examines drama-documentary, the western, science fiction, comedy performance in 'spoof news' programmes and the television 'sit com' and popular Bollywood films.
The temporality of genre
Just as much as critics need to pay attention to the pan-generic primal soup that provided the nourishing environment from which the
novel would finally grow, they also need to acknowledge the cultural
background from which generic change draws its inspiration. This
background, needless to say, is far too extensive ever to be portrayed
exhaustively, but an awareness – as New Historicism had initially promoted – of habits of reading, of censorship and rules about publication, of religious attitudes to art, and of critical debates about
the protagonist’s agitation.
How do you begin to make sense of, or place , this film? What kind of film is it? Rather than defining it minutely, you might choose to assign it to one of three broader categories proposed by Alan Williams in an influential article, ‘Is a Radical Genre Criticism Possible?’ ( 1984 : 121–5). Having to select from Williams’s classes of narrative film, experimental or avant-garde film, and documentary, you might cautiously judge the sequence playing out on screen to belong to the first of these. There is no evidence in this scene
A first statement:
Truffaut’s attitude to genre and
the questions it posed for French film-makers is neatly summed up at a very
early point of his career in the juxtapositioning of two short sequences in
Les Mistons. Unobtrusive and understated, these sequences
nevertheless eloquently express the views of the Nouvelle Vague directors on
the subject of the future
that the notion of categorisation remains important,
even if some film, television and radio examples resist easy
classification. The concept of genre has been one of the most useful
ways of categorising and classifying a range of popular culture
artefacts and has long provided the film industry - producers and
exhibitors - with an effective way to promote its product to audiences.
It was also found
What makes these fictions’ involvement in the ‘borderless world’
of the global era most fascinating is their nationality. On a broad
level, this relationship often demands attention; as Jonas Frykman
notes, ‘The more Europe is integrated and the world is globalised,
the quicker the dissolution of sedimented practices, routines and
traditions proceeds, then all the more national identity is discussed, given a sharper profile and challenged.’47 As well as existing
within the collective group of Europe and Scandinavia, Sweden is
A generation ago, Spain was emerging from a nearly forty-year dictatorship. This book analyses the significant changes in the aesthetics, production and reception of Spanish cinema and genre from 1990 to the present. It brings together European and North American scholars to establish a critical dialogue on the topic of contemporary Spanish cinema and genre while providing multiple perspectives on the concepts of national cinemas and genre theory. The book addresses a particular production unit, the Barcelona-based Fantastic Factory as part of the increasingly important Filmax group of companies, with the explicit aim of making genre films that would have an appeal beyond the Spanish market. It explores the genrification of the Almodovar brand in the US media and cinematic imaginary as a point of departure to tackle how the concepts of genre, authorship and Spanish cinema itself acquire different meanings when transposed into a foreign film market. Melodrama and political thriller films have been a narrative and representational form tied to the imagining of the nation. The book also examines some of the aspects of Carícies that distinguish it from Pons's other entries in his Minimalist Trilogy. It looks briefly at the ways in which the letter acts as one of the central melodramatic gestures in Isabel Coixet's films. After an analysis of the Spanish musical from the 1990s until today, the book discusses Spanish immigration films and some Spanish-Cuban co-productions on tourism and transnational romance.