Week Three Genre Presentation

Feb 6th, 2015
Price: $20 USD

Question description

Resources: University of Phoenix: Week Three Film List; Week Three Electronic Reserve Readings; Ch. 6 of Film; and Microsoft® PowerPoint® Tutorial

Watch your selected comedy, horror, or science fiction film, viewing one film from one of the three genres.

Create a 4- to 7-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation describing your selected genre and how your chosen film fits or does not fit the standard model of the genre.

Include the following:

  • Description of your selected genre
  • Description of the film's following components:
  • Summary of the film's story
  • Setting & lighting
  • Makeup & costumes
  • Music & sound
  • Discussion of the film as either typical or atypical of its respective genre and how each film's components support your view

Address fictional aspects of film as discussed in Ch. 6 of Filmby writing the following for inclusion on one Microsoft® PowerPoint® slide:

  • Create your own genre movie character and write a goal for your character, a conflict he or she encounters, and how he or she resolves the conflict and achieves the goal.

Format your presentation consistent with APA guidelines.

Present your Week Three Genre Presentation.

  • For Online and Directed Study students, these are Microsoft® PowerPoint®presentations with notes.


I believe the life of every person is worthy of scrutiny, containing its own secrets

and dramas. People don’t talk about them because they are embarrassed,

because they do not like to scratch old wounds, or are afraid of being judged

unfashionably sentimental. (Kieslowski)

As part of the opening narration of Blood Simple (1984, 2000) indicates,

“Nothing comes with a guarantee. I don’t care if you’re the Pope of Rome,

the President of the United States, or Man of the Year. Something can all go

wrong.” Often narrative films show how neither the audience nor characters

(or people in a documentary film) can anticipate how things “can all go

wrong.” Some stories show that developments can be profound and farreaching.

In A Simple Plan (1998), credible events early in the story set in

motion a chain of events that eventually result in unexpected complications

and grief. A fox runs across the path of a pickup truck with three men inside.

The driver swerves to miss the fox; his truck hits a tree; his dog chases after

the fox in the deep snow. The driver goes trudging off after his dog and the

other two men go along, but they do not find it. After a brief, somewhat

heated exchange between two of the characters, the annoyed one throws a

snowball at nothing in particular. When it lands, snow falls away revealing a

small downed plane. Inside is a dead pilot and a duffel bag containing lots

and lots of money. The decisions of the three very different men about what

to do with the money lead to all sorts of complications that are unexpected

by both the characters and the film’s viewers (Figure 6.1).

Another narrative that illustrates that unexpected events can have

important unforeseen consequences is the animated film “T.R.A.N.S.I.T.”

(1997), in which a suitcase falling off the back of a sports car makes all the

difference in the worlds of several characters (for a description of the film,

see p. 427). Had it not fallen, the man would not have seen and become

infatuated with the attractive woman, and none of the ensuing tragedies

would have transpired.

Most people are so drawn to narratives or stories that when they are

confronted by any type of text with no obvious story, they still try to find

one. As film archivist and critic Robert Rosen writes,

Film and painting . . . display intriguing points of convergence, among them

the inescapability of narrativizing spectators. Even in the face of totally nonrepresentational

works, viewers have a powerful urge to uncover or invent

narrative—a basic need to normalize the challenge of the unfamiliar by situating

it in a comfortably recognizable sequence of events. (252)

Factual or fictional “narratives” or stories are commonplace in every

society. We all produce them, and almost everyone can enjoy them and

sometimes learn from them. Most of us experience narratives by listening

to others tell stories, by going to movies and plays, or by reading factual

or fictional stories. Yet explanation of what precisely constitutes a narrative

is a complex, frequently debated issue in critical theory. Narrative can be

defined as a representation of unified events (happenings and actions)

situated in one or more settings. The representations of the events may be

arranged chronologically or nonchronologically, and the events themselves

may be factual, fictional, or a blend of the two

As an example of narrative, consider the main events of the 17-minute

wordless French fictional film “The String Bean” (1962):

1. An old woman finds a discarded potted plant near her apartment


2. In her apartment, she replaces the dead plant with a seed that she took

from a package.

3. In her apartment, the plant grows to only a certain size.

4. The woman transplants the plant to a park, where it thrives.

5. One day, she sees park caretakers uproot the thriving plant and discard

it. The woman takes pods from the discarded plant.

6. In her apartment, she removes seeds from a pod, plants them, places

the pot outside on the sill, and looks on as rain begins to fall on the


This narrative consists of selected, chronologically arranged events in the

life of one character. Most viewers can figure out the relationship of later

events to earlier ones. For example, between the major units of the narrative

(or sequences) numbered 3 and 4, viewers can infer that the woman transplants

the plant to the park because she hopes it will grow even larger and

healthier outdoors. If the film showed only sequences 1 through 5, there

would still be a narrative, though one with an unhappy ending, both for the

woman and for people in the audience who identify with her. If the film

showed only sequences 1 through 3, there also would still be a narrative,

though most viewers would find it unsatisfactory because it lacks complications

and resolution of them.

A narrative’s events must be unified—related—in some manner. Consider

the following actions, which are not clearly related:

5. An old woman in a park sees park caretakers uproot a healthy plant and

discard it. The woman takes pods from the discarded plant.

3. In the woman’s apartment, a plant grows to only a certain size.

1. The old woman finds a discarded potted plant near her apartment


If a film showed only these actions and in this order, viewers could make

no sense of them. The film would not convey a narrative.

Some films—such as many films directed by the French directors Jean-

Luc Godard and Alain Resnais—make it difficult or impossible for viewers

to perceive the unity of events. Other films—such as Mr. Hulot’s Holiday

(1953), Nashville (1975), Short Cuts (1993), Clerks (1994), and Gosford Park

(2001)—are only loosely unified overall. Although individual scenes are

unified and easy to follow, some scenes could be moved to a different place

in the story with little consequence. Such films are said to have an episodic


The settings of narratives may be fictional, as in most science fiction

stories, or they may be essentially factual, as in the many movies that were

filmed on largely unaltered locations. As we saw in Chapter 1, on mise en

scène, settings can help reveal what characters are like in a fictional film or

what people are like in a factual narrative.

A fictional film is a narrative that shows mostly or entirely imaginary

events. On rare occasions, filmmakers combine fictional events with

footage of actual events, as in the scenes beginning 913/4 minutes into

Medium Cool (1969) in which one character attends the actual 1968 Chicago

Democratic National Convention as a reporter while on the streets outside

the convention another character gets caught up in an actual demonstration

and is threatened by tear gas and police violence.


From 1895 to about 1906, all fictional films ran for less than 60 minutes, a

frequent definition of short film. During movie showings until the 1960s,

short fictional films were often part of the program. Today, short films are

seldom shown in theaters and are rarely available in video stores. They are

shown at film festivals; by film societies, museums, and libraries; on some

cable channels, including the Sundance Channel, the Independent Film

Channel, and Turner Classic Movies; in various school and college

courses; and on many Web sites. In addition, collections of short films—

such as the series of collections beginning with Short 1 and continuing

through Short 11 (2001)—have been available on DVD. Helping to make

a short film is usually required of filmmaking students. Occasionally, short

films attract attention at film festivals or on the Web and lead to funding

for feature productions.

At its best, a short fictional film is not a shortened and compressed feature

but a flexible and expressive form in its own right. Its brevity, like that

of a short story, can be an advantage. Compared with a feature film, a short

film may be more compressed, demanding, and subtle. And since its budget

is relatively small, its makers are under far fewer financial pressures to

WE TAKE SO MUCH FOR GRANTED, in life and in the movies. Perhaps

more than any other component of a film, viewers tend not to

notice and not to appreciate the soundtrack—what it can consist of and

what it can contribute to the viewer’s responses. So by way of introduction

and illustration, let’s begin by considering an example: the soundtrack in

the opening of a film. Not just any opening. Not just any film. But one

with an especially expressive soundtrack. Contact (1997) is a fictional film

about listening for life elsewhere in the universe and some of the consequences

(scientific, political, and personal) after extraterrestrial life makes

contact with earth. At the beginning of Contact, the camera seems to be positioned

in space and looking down on a part of the earth. Then the camera

seems to travel farther and farther away from earth, then from the

planets and galaxies. All the while, viewers hear snippets of sound, mainly

overlapping music and speech from earlier and earlier TV and radio

broadcasts (see the feature on p. 158). This simultaneous visual and aural

information suggests—as the author of the film’s source novel, astronomer

and writer Carl Sagan, stated—that ever since the first radio transmissions

near the beginning of the twentieth century, earthlings have in effect proclaimed

to the universe that there is life on earth. In the previous chapter,

we were reminded of how much information can be conveyed by skillfully

edited film—such as the montage early in Adaptation (2002, Figure 3.30,

p. 146). Similarly, the initial audio sequence of Contact demonstrates that a

wealth of history can be evoked in a very short time if filmmakers choose

the details carefully.

What are a few of the many ways that other typically unobtrusive film

sounds are created, how might film sounds be used, and, most important,

how do they affect viewers? This chapter gives some answers to those

questions by examining some specific uses of a soundtrack’s four major

components, possible sound transitions, and general uses of sound in

narrative films.


The events of a fictional film are selected and arranged in a meaningful

order (structure). They are represented over time (chronologically or not).

In addition, the events are represented in one or more styles. In the

remainder of this chapter, we explore how feature films handle the basic

components of structure, time, and style.


Structure, which some scholars and theorists call form, refers to the arrangement

of the parts of a text. This section focuses on (1) the basics of fictional

structure (characters, goals, conflicts, and resolution);

(2) some functions of beginnings, middles,

and endings; and (3) the combining of different

brief stories—plotlines—into a larger, more

complex story.


Fictional films always include at least one character,

and that character is usually based on characteristics

of one or more actual people. Nonhuman

characters featured in fictional films—such as

extraterrestrials, robots, zombies, ghosts, animals,

and even abstract shapes—are portrayed as having

human qualities (Figure 6.3). A fictional narrative

nearly always includes at least one character

that wants something but has problems obtaining

it (Figure 6.4). People are fascinated with characters

that have trouble reaching their goals, in part

because in such circumstances viewers learn about

human nature or think they learn about how they

themselves might handle a similar situation. Perhaps

viewers also sometimes enjoy seeing others

struggling with problems. Whatever their motivations,

viewers tend to be fascinated by how others

behave in adverse situations and how their decisions

and actions could affect them and others

around them.

Typically, a main character’s goals in a fictional

film are not immediately apparent, though

one major goal usually becomes clear early in the

film so that viewers do not lose interest. As a story

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School: Boston College

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