The Repertoire of Elements

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Lacey considers the ‘repertoire of elements’ that work in combination to suggest a media text belongs to a particular genre or mix of genres. He provides a useful framework to follow when analyzing genre. Lacey breaks a text down into these five areas to identify the elements in each: setting, characters, narrative, iconography, style. Narrative – refers to the story structure as well as the specific narrative devices, which genres employ (car chases, gunfights, weddings, etc.). Characters – narrative is usually developed through characters and their functions (hero, villain etc.). Some characters as so closely associated with a genre that they become generic types. For example, in horror movies, the ‘final girl’, who maintains her personal dignity, usually defeats the psychopath. Setting – some genres have a distinct location but this can be subject to change, for example, horror films have moved from the gothic to the suburban. Genres can also be associated with time periods like the gangster films set during prohibition in America but successful films have updated this. Iconography – films contain visual and audio images, which become instantly recognizable and associated with the genre. E.g. gangster films feature the iconic ‘Tommy’ gun spraying bullets in the hands of a man in a sharp suit usually standing on the running board of a car. Style – iconography refers to the objects but style describes the way they are presented. Camera angles editing, lighting and the use of colour all contribute to the style of the film.

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