Discussion of Film and Cinema techniques

I thought that this in-depth discussion on Film Genre by Rick Poynor & Adrian Shaughnessy would be an excellent resource for Emily, one of my Photography students who is looking at the cinematic in photography this year. I admire both of these writers and I found the discussion stimulating and very useful for anyone wanting to get a grounding in some of the subject areas surrounding film. I LOVE film and I did a short film paper when I was studying for my BA…Lot’s of those ideas came back to me while reading this. Incidentally I am really enjoying the blog that the article is on The Design Observer (Rick Poynor & Adrian Shaughnessy are regular contributers) which I have just discovered.

Rick Poynor & Adrian Shaughnessy

The Velvet Light Trap no. 10, Fall 1973. Designer: John Davis

Can genre movies express a personal vision? Are films blurring into other media? And what’s the state of film culture today? Rick Poynor and Adrian Shaughnessy continue their dialogue. Read part one for the beginning of the conversation.

Adrian Shaughnessy:
You can make a powerful case for cinema being a genre-based art form, but are genre distinctions still relevant today? Besides being a convenient historical labelling system, I’ve never found it a meaningful way to navigate current cinema. Genres tend to exist only in retrospect; we need the perspective of history to see how the conventions are manipulated, hybridized, or flat-out contradicted — to use your words.

Take film noir, which I know you like as much as I do. Film noir existed because of a unique set of circumstances — the arrival in Hollywood in the 1930s of German émigré directors with sensibilities rooted in expressionism; the rise of interest in psychoanalysis; and the new-found instinct amongst film makers to invert the conventions of Hollywood. But it wasn’t called film noir (…)



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