Film genre

Get to know and interpret film genres and their significance for the audience's expectations of a film

Literature and sports quotes in white letters on a black background, huge clocks ticking, pendulums swinging, people appear out of the crowd, a ball is kicked into the air and then all of a sudden a cartoon sequence – what kind of film is this? Or what do we expect from this film after such a turbulent beginning? Our expectations are determined by our knowledge of other films and their classification into groups (genres).

Feature films are divided into different film genres based on common characteristics. These characteristics can relate to the period or setting of the action, the basic mood or the narrative form. Genre conventions are not rigid and are subject to historical change. First and foremost, film genre names such as drama, comedy, crime, adventure or animated film are terms that make it easier for both viewers and film producers to communicate ideas about films, standardise narrative and representation forms and generate expectations of what will happen in a film. Many films get their appeal from the combination of different genre features and thus appear more interesting.

Task 1

  1. Watch the beginning of the film Run Lola Run an. If you had to decide on a genre, which one would you be most likely to place RUN LOLA RUN in? Complete the following sentence:
  2. Run Lola Run belongs to the … genre.

  3. Watch the beginning of the film again and generate still images of elements that suggest a genre. To generate still images, tap the camera icon in the video. Above the workspace you will find symbols for different genres. Attach a suitable symbol to your still images.
  4. Which genre elements apply more, which less? Resize the icons to show the genre's influence on the movie. Big symbols mean strong influence, small symbols mean little influence.

TC: 00:00:00 – 00:04:32

  1. Think about your answers from exercises 1b and 1c and explain how expectations of the entire film result from the references it makes to genres. If you have already seen the whole film, you can relate the expectations that the beginning of the film builds with the help of genre references to the later course and the overall structure of the film.