Genre, Aesthetics and Criticism

  • Duncan J. Petrie


There are other factors which contribute to the structuring of the film-making process which are also worth examining. These include aesthetic and cultural factors which are less tangible than issues of finance and technology but are just as significant nonetheless. The aesthetic domain embraces those resources constituted by the techniques of cinema — modes of narration, mise-en-scène, montage and so on — which any film-maker can draw upon in the course of their work. It is through the utilisation of such aesthetic resources that film-makers establish an active communication, in Williams’s sense,1 with their audience. These resources are related to technological resources such as cameras, lenses, film stock, lighting, editing and dubbing facilities. Consequently, the individual film-maker is afforded a wide range of aesthetic and technical possibilities from which to draw upon.


Theatrical Tradition Social Drama Television Drama Sunday Morning American Cinema 
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    Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (Harmondsworth: Pelican, 1965), Chapter 1: ‘The Creative Mind’.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Christine Gledhill, ‘History of Genre Criticism’ in Pam Cook (ed.), The Cinema Book (London: BFI, 1985), p. 58.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The first critical study to use the term film noir was Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumerton’s Panorame du Film Noir Americain (Paris) 1955.Google Scholar
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    Leo Braudy, ‘Genre. The Conventions of Connection’ in Gerald Mast and Marshall Cohen (eds), Film Theory and Criticism, 3rd Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 415.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Duncan J. Petrie 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan J. Petrie
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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