Film genres are more than the mechanism of classification based on subject matter that we associate with the western, the horror film, the musical, etc. From producers to consumers, from studio moguls to directors, to critics, fans and aficionados, the notion of genre is used as a key determinant of a film’s meaning. Genre films work within and have the opportunity to reflect on society’s primary myths of identity and individuality, freedom and responsibility, cultural stability and social change. This course will consider some of the most fascinating questions raised by genre films: What are the parameters for standardization and innovation within film genres? How do individual filmmakers rework the conventions of a genre to maintain its relevance their time? In what sense can film genres operate as instigators of change? How do genre films reflect the ravages of history?
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