Saturday, August 7, 2010

Genre Cinema: Rule Governed Postcode

(Note: An edited version of this post was previously submitted for my AFTRS Screen Culture course, Genre Task, August 2010)

Genre Film has long pushed the boundaries of the cinematic medium. It may be presented in strange forms from gore-ridden horror to alien infested sci-fi or even to more highly regarded streams such as film noir. Despite its different forms and conventions in each case it is essentially used as a mould by filmmakers to ask questions of humanity and reflect societies self-conscious. The result is a mirror image of our world, which has been sifted through a particular genre's iconography. As adaptations and franchises become ever more popular, genre has become less of a dirty word but unfortunately its reputation is still not crystal clean.

The Black President
While 2008 marked the year that the 1st official African-American president was elected to govern the United States of America, Barak Obama was far from the 1st in popular culture. As I sit here with 1998's Science Fiction film "Deep Impact" playing on the TV, it is none more present than through Morgan Freeman's portrayal of President Tom Beck, an entire decade before Obama was sworn in. Sci-Fi films have themes, plots and characters that are a direct response to social anxieties. They not only push the boundaries in terms of fictional science, they also push the boundaries of story telling.