Sunday, 25 November 2007

10 Media Keywords

1) Auteurism - Alfonso Cuaron, whilst relatively new to the Hollywood business, is fast establishing his own distinct style. His influence can be seen throughout Children Of Men, most notably in the documentary-style lengthy shots not typical of a science fiction film.

2) Dystopia - Many science fiction films, including Children Of Men, employ a dystopia theme in their narrative. Unlike many other films however, Children Of Men centres its dystopian society around issues that are present in today's world affairs as opposed to 'alien invasions and robots malfunctioning'.

3) Guardian - Peter Bradshaw's review of the film covers many aspects I can use in arguing Children Of Men is not a typical science fiction film.

4) Cinema Verite - The lengthy shots used in the film undoubtedly incorporate a cinema verite style technique, at times making the film look almost like a documentary.

5) Hybrid - With so many different techniques being used throughout the film, it can be argued that Children Of Men is a hybrid genre rather than just science-fiction. This in turn would account for the documentary style elements felt in the lengthy shots.

6) Patriarchal Society - Despite being set in 2027, a patriarchal society still seems to exist. This is emphasised by the fact that the protagonist and hero of the film is a male on a misson to bring a female to safety.

7) Levi Strauss, Claude - Theory can be applied to the conflict between the Government and the terrorists, although what side (good or bad) they represent is open to debate.

8) Realism - No robots, no aliens, just a lot of humans at conflict with each other in the future - about as real as it gets.

9) Science fiction - The film doesn't rely on advanced technology or special effects to enthrice it's audience. In addition, there's no robots, aliens or superhumans and thus typical characteristcs of the genre are not used by Cuaron.

10) Academy Awards - The films cinematography and editing (key in arguing Children Of Men is not a typical science fiction film) were nominated for awards.

Blog Buddy Meeting Brief Summary

Apart from looking at theorists (which of course is vital), me and Deep are still trying to establish what else we can look at together that will be of any relevance to both our independent studies. Until then, we have decided to research Rick Altman (who is an O.G when it comes to analysing genre) in detail. His book 'Film/Genre' studies the various complexities associated with defining what genre really is and covers how both historical and present events (SHEP) can influence or even change common and stereoptypical characteristics of an individual genre.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Blog Buddies

The first of my two 'blog buddies' is Deep. It's logical for me to have chosen him as whilst I'm studying science-fiction and he's studying film-noir, we are both examining whether our chosen text conforms or subverts to the stereotypes associated with our respective genres. Hence, our research will be similar, particularly when it comes to looking at books and theorists.

Book Research ..Finally.

1) Langford, Barry (2005) : Film Genre - Hollywood and beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • This book is useful to my study as it discusses a range of different genres and covers what is considered to be 'typical' features of the science-fiction genre. In doing so, Langford also analyses various sci-films which I can compare and contrast with my text.
  • Quote: 'If anything the [sci-fi] genre's elusive semantic core - or the closest thing to it - consists in its enduring focus through serial visions of possible futures on the transformative, sometimes invasive impact of advanced technology.'

2) Altman, Rick (1999) : Film/Genre. London: British Film Institute.

  • This book is useful to my study as rather than just focusing a majority of it's study on specific genres, the book coveres genre as a whole and in doing so offers complex suggestions about what genre really is and the various different conventions associated with it. Many relevant theorists are also covered in detail.
  • Quote: 'Each film is imaged as an example of the overall genre, replicating the generic prototype in all basic characteristics.'

3) Neale, Steve (2002) : Genre and Contemporary Hollywood. London: British Film Institute.

  • This book is useful to my study as it discusses the notion of hybrid genre (something that I am looking to argue Children Of Men is) in detail. Neale also analyses past sci-fi texts considered to be 'typical' of the genre. Relevant theorists are also mentioned.
  • Quote: 'Genre can be approached from the point of view of the industry and its infastructure, from the point of view of their aesthetic traditions, from the point of view of the broader socio-cultural enviroment upon which they draw and into which they feed, and from the point of view audience understanding and response.'

4) Cook, Pam & Bernink, Mieke (1999) : The Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute.

  • This book is useful to my study as it attempts to connect film institutions, camerawork (a major factor in my analysis of Children Of Men as a typical sci-fi film), features and content with genre. That said, it covers everything really.
  • Quote: 'Some [sci-fi films] are normative and exclusive, designed to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' science fiction or to promote a particular form or tend.'

5) Maltby, Richard (2003) : Hollywood Cinema. UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • This book is useful to my study as it has a very detailed and analytical chapter on genre. It addresses many critics whom I can mention in my study in addition to theorists.
  • Quote: 'Genres are flexible, subject to a constant process of change and adaptation. Generic boundaries can never be rigidly defined, and all generic groupings are susceptible to extensive subdivision.'

6) Gill, Branston & Stafford, Roy (2003) : The Media Student's Book. UK: Routledge.

  • This book is useful to my study as it offers more on the wider context aspect of my independent study whilst at the same time linking it to genre. The events of September, 11 (an event I will be mentioning in my study) and their effect on genre is looked at.
  • Quote: 'As the genre becomes established, play can be made with it's conventions. Part of the pleasure of the riddles is their reference to well-known stereotypes, and thus to your feelings about real-world groups of which you may know very little.

7) Knight, Damon Francis (1996) : In Search Of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction. US: Advent Pub Inc.

  • This book is a collection of commentary on science fiction by book author Knight. Despite the fact that he is a author, this book is still useful to my study as he provides a thorough insight into the sci-fi genre and in doing so highlights conventions becoming apparent in many modern sci-fi books (which directors then go on to adapt as a film, Children Of Men being a prime example).
  • Quote: 'Science fiction is what we point to when we say it.'

8) Cousins, Mark (2004) : The story of film. UK: Pavilion Books

  • This book is useful to my study as it analyses how film-makers (in this case Alfonso Cuaron) are influenced by historical events of their times (in this case, the war against terror). This information will be used to cover the wider context aspect of my independent study.
  • Quote: 'Filmmakers with a moral conscience addressed or expressed what was happening on those streets.'

This book I have yet to get hold of personally but I'm sure will prove useful to my independent study as according to 'Google Book Search', it covers the essential films, themes and plots of the genre.

9) Scalzi, John (2005) : The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Films. US: Rough Guides

The following book is of little relevance to my independent study but regardless discusses genre. Until I can find better a book, I am going to use it to make up the 10.

9) Schatz, Thomas (1981) : Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking and the Studio System. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Representation Of Gender In The Past Summary

Representations Of Gender In The Past
Summary Of Key Points

Women and Men on TV:

· In the 50s, 60s and 70s, only 20% of characters were female, although by the mid 80s there were more women in leading roles.
· In 1975, Miles found that there were nearly equal proportions of men and women in situation comedies, whereas in action-adventure shows, only 15% of leading characters were women.
· Also in 1975, McNeil concluded that the women’s movement had been largely ignored by television, with married housewives being the main female role shown.
· The 70’s summarised – In general, men were more likely to be assertive (or aggressive), whilst women were more likely to be passive.
· 1980s – TV remained stubborn, with game shows not bothering to change their ‘degrading and trivialising views of women’, sports programming remaining ‘the preserve of men’, and news programmes accused of tokenism or ‘window dressing’ by including some women in key positions whilst retaining a male-dominated culture.
· 1980s TV Drama – Gillian Dyer observed that the number of women in central roles in police ad crime series had increased – Rape story lines were often used and this was an opportunity for programme makers to build drama around the feminist critique of police attitudes, and for female characters to clash with the ‘old guard’ who might not treat rape sensitively.

Women and Men in Movies:

· 1950’s – Films almost always focused on male heroes who typically made the decisions which led the story, and were assertive, confident and dominant. (Examples being High Noon (1952) and Touch Of Evil (1959))
· 1960’s – The sixties may have been changing with character roles, but male characters were consistently more intelligent, more assertive – and much more prevalent.
· 1970’s – Females were given greater roles – Leia from Star Wars (1977) was a rebel who shot storm troopers but was still the prized princess the heroic boys had to rescue and Woody Allen found success with films like Manhattan (1979) where she played an intelligent woman who captured the eye of a male leading character.
· In 1973, Majorie Rosen asserted that ‘the Cinema Woman is a Popcorn Venus, a delectable but insubstantial hybrid of cultural distortions.
· 1980’s – Further progress the female roles was made. Ripley became stronger in Aliens (1986) and Sarah Connor was courageous in The Terminator (1984). Meanwhile, the reliable heroic male still featured prominently in most films, including the Indiana Jones series (1981, 1984, 1989).
· 1990’s – Kathi Maio noted ‘strong, victorious women [do] exist in film, just not often enough, and generally not in movies that get much play’. Susan Faludi went a step further by saying women were being ‘reduced to mute and incidental characters or banished altogether’, with particular reference to Predator (1987) and Lethal Weapon (1987).