It Genre Texts Promote A Set Of
I think it is correct in saying that genre texts promote a set of values directly linked and related to the contexts they were produced in but I don’t think they can just be boxed off as being related to that specific context. Some values related to context have continued throughout genre.
Genre is an ever-evolving thing as is the audience who consumes it so this may lead to different values being highlighted and different conventions of the genre being added over time but some values have definitely stayed present.For instance if you look at science fiction films, the values have changed through time to what was the focal point of worry or concern of humans at the time. Horror films from earlier years are still identifiable as part of the sci-fi genre but the values may be different from more contemporary films. Producers of science fiction films often use their films as predictions or social commentaries of the time. The values associated with the film have changed from fear of technology, fear of natural disasters and what the future beholds for the human race as well as others.Genre changes through time because audiences and society changes.
Issues arise and decrease all the time in the world so it’s only natural that films do also so audiences can identify more with the film making it appeal to more of a mass audience.Some of the values promoted through genre texts have stayed through time and are not only specific the context they were made in. For example in gangster films iconography is similar today to what it was when they were first made such as the gangster being smartly dressed in a suit, cigars showing status and being cleanly shaven etc. The values most common in gangster films seem to be the fact that violence is a way of life, respect for mobsters, the pursuit of the “American Dream” and the gangster’s attitude towards their family.”I work my whole life – I don’t apologize – to take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those big shots.” – Don Corleone, the Godfather (1972).
At the time that The Godfather was made, the 70’s was thought to be kind of “the comedown” after “the swinging sixties”. During this time people’s perception of the nuclear family, religion and trust in the government had greatly decreased. There was an increase in divorce, single parent households and pre marital sex. In the godfather the family are quite religious but it highlights that the criminal activity that goes on undetected, is symbolic to the fading relationship between the government and the public. America in the seventies experienced a economic recession maybe leading to the portrayal of gangster getting involved in heroin trafficking to make a living.Little Caesar (1931) has entirely different values related to the context it was made in to those of more contemporary gangster films.
When this film was made, America was under prohibition from 1920. This meant that alcohol usage in the film was quite taboo however the main character Rico has alcohol as a status symbol within the film. At the time it was something that was banned yet Rico was able to get some. This shows his rise to power and his achievement of what he personally wanted which was to be rich and powerful. However, prohibition ended in 1933 so gangster films made after this, would not need to be careful with the use of alcohol as the audiences perception of alcohol would have changed since the prohibition was lifted.
The film follows Rico and his friend Joe head to Chicago to seek their fortune. Joe is more interested in fame and girls and wants to become a dancer with a girl named Olga but Rico joins a gang and soon reaches the top. Rico becomes worried and paranoid that his friend will betray him to the police and threatens him not to see Olga anymore and attempts to lure him back into the world of crime again but Joe resists and does turn Rico into the Police. Rico cannot bring himself to kill his former best friend and is thrown from his throne of power and retreats to a hostel. The police are after him and get to him via a newspaper labelling him a coward and Rico does not react well to this he comes out of hiding with his guns ablaze but is eventually gunned down by his rival .Rico dies poor and alone and the closing shot is of a billboard of Joe and Olga as famed dancers.
The two, once best friends, are now binary oppositions to each other.This depicts the rise and fall of Rico throughout his pursuit of the American Dream in the wrong way, a message underlying in the film that highlights hard work will pay off but crime would not. This message is not different from other gangster films as it is a common feature of the genre to depict the rise and fall of a gangster through their pursuit of the American Dream.Contemporary children’s films seem to promote values of unity, superheroes and good vs. evil seen in such films as The Incredibles, a film about a family of superheroes and the more recent Golden Compass following the journey of a girl on a quest to stop evil forces.
It seems that both these films have come at a time when the American and British forces are away where they must be united, they are set up in the news as heroes and heroines and in effect the good that must defeat the bad .I do think that genre texts definitely promote a set of values that are directly related to the context they were made in. I also think that some values have continued through the evolution of any one specific genre as the reason they evolve in the first place is because the audiences change and develop too as the values and ideologies change in society, proportionally to the audience.