Dyers theory of Social tension and inadequacy against the utopian feeling or fantasy and its coding in entertainment films are used to help explain complicated narrative structure of films, I am therefore going to relate two films from each category and explain the importance and reasoning behind them. Both of the social tension and inadequacy films that I have chosen are films that are English, they have both had a huge impact of the film world and relates everyday life to the audience. Billy Elliot is the first film I am going to evaluate. The scarcity in this film is unreal; the whole film is based in poverty and in a hard economic time.
Billy and his family live in a small terraced house in the north, very little to do and there is a lot of filming done in back streets and alleyways. The distribution of wealth is also visible, with Billy interacting with wealthier characters such as the ballet dancers daughter. There is a lot of exhaustion within in the film, as the work is hard and as they are miners on strike there seems to be endless battles within society. There is a political statement being made by showing the hard ways in which people live, the characters in the film consist of a father, brother, grandmother and Billy.
The father and brother spend time at work or striking, the grandmother stays at home and it portrayed as senile and not really wanted or needed. The film is enabling the audience to feel that life is very predictable and that life is meaningless. The manipulation in Billy Elliot is seen from the start, it concentrates on political spin and how the miners are striking and how hard it is for the workers. Billy starts a routine of his Ballet by going to ballet lessons after school and practicing in the bathroom where no one would see him.
The fragmentation is a major part in this film, as it concentrates on the breakdown within society and the insecurity placed within family structures and community structures. It is evident that there is a lack of mother/female guidance and security within the family as each of the characters rarely turn to each other for comfort, help or support. But there is a strong element of triumph through adversity. The realism in this film is what sold it and what made it so popular, as it concentrates on lower socio econimc groups and it relates to what many people have to do, this is a realisum film.
The second film that I am using to demonstrate Dyers theory is The Full Monty. This film, again, was an English film set in Sheffield, during a time of high unemployment. The setting shows high poverty and it focuses in on the distribution of wealth and how there was a clear definition between the wealthy and poor. The way that the main characters met in the local job centre explains the realism within the film, of which many people can relate to. The clarity of exhaustion is foreseen through the five/six main characters due to the hard work and effort that they put in to try and gain them a job and a better reputation.
Their lives seem pointless, predictable and meaningless at a certain stage in the film this shown by one of the characters attempting to commit suicide. The characters in film soon become aware of the manipulation within society and engage on their own venture… The Full Monty! There is a strong sense of fragmentation, the breakdown of marriages, friendships and trust all play a large role in the making of the film and it engages the audience to participate and become emotionally involved with wjhat the characters are going through and hiow they live their lives.
The other theory that dyer uses is Utopian feeling or fantasy and it’s coding in entertainment films, I am also going to evaluate against his theory. The films that I will use are mainly American films, American Pie and Sweet Home Alabama. Both of these films have a very similar narrative structure; they are both set in nice, happy, friendly, middle class surroundings, with nice costumes and bright colourful sets and music. The films concentrate on energy; there is plenty of enthusiasm and pleasure interpreted into the films. There are lots of quick and effective edits with a quick pace dialogue to counteract with the edits.
Both of the films have a high intensity with lots of drama and some subliminal storylines beneath the main storyline, there is plenty of excitement and drama. Plenty of drama and occasional exciting situations entail a good audience interaction and keep the transparency of the film open. There is a huge sense of community with both of these films; everyone always gets on well and pull together when they need to. Dyers way of defining genre in films is different to any others because he believes that utopians allow the audience to escape from the realities of life.
Whereas another genre theorist, Thomas Schatz has developed another way, this proprieties the thematic structures over iconography to produce two classification: Order or Integration. Genres of orders are often classified as ‘Macho Movies’ and Genres of Integration as ‘Chick Flicks’. Two films which I will demonstrate how Schatz theory of Order works are Blade and Sleepy Hollow. Blade has a dominant male hero, the setting is very big and this proves that it is ideologically unstable. The conflict that is outside of the body (external) is released through violent action, shooting and killing etc.
The resolution of the film is by the main ‘baddy’ being killed. This film follows Schatz’s theory really well and it is easy to understand the film. Sleepy Hollow entails one main dominant hero, the setting is in a forest/small town, which he is not from so he is insecure and is ideologically unstable. The violence is not as bad as in Blade but it involves the main characters to use swords and guns to try and kill the mad horseman. The resolution in this film involves the killing of the mad horseman; the main character departs at the end of the film.
The two films that I will use for genres of Integration ‘Chick Flicks’ are Bridget Jones’s Diary and Absolutely Fabulous. Both of these have female dominant characters whether they are singular or a couple. Both have ideological stable settings, either in their homes or their work. The conflict that they express is mainly through emotion, in Bridget Jones’ Diary the conflict is expressed through the writing in her diary, In Absolutely Fabulous, the conflict is expressed through emotion, or through the alcohol drank.
The resolution for both are through love, with Bridget Jones’ Diary it is the love of the man, whereas in Absolutely Fabulous it is the love of two friends as the resolution. The couple are integrated into the wider community of friends and family. All of the theories used by both Dyer and Schatz proved different but effective views and opinions about narrative structures, but both work and enable the genres of films to be condensed, understood and viewed with different resolutions.