Link to K-Film : HERE
Link to Essay (This will download the essay document to your computer) : HERE
BY: Conor Woods, Neha Badiger & Robert Fantozzi
Online text version of Essay:
INTEGRATED MEDIA – ESSAY
“Thematic resonances” (Shields 334) and “melody as rhythm” (Shields 335). What is thematic rhythm in a Korsakow film and how have you made some?
Within an interactive Korsakow film, the viewer or audience creates their own path from the videos and material provided by the creator. The creator develops keywords that link each clip to another, and these keywords offer some insight into the patterns that the creator thinks are present. These keywords allow for repetition and, simultaneously, discovery. Each clip links to another, and though you may experience repeated clips, the linked clips may not always be the same. This is how there in discovery within the K-Film, and this is how we begin to perceive the idea of “thematic resonances” (Shields 334) and rhythms within each film.
As an engaged viewer, we are powered by the urge to create patterns and find logical reasons as to why clips may be linked to each other. Subconsciously we create these links, which may or may not reflect the links that the author has embedded, although it is likely that we would be thinking in a similar fashion. We may notice similar colours, movements or subject matter within the selection of the clips and thus see that there are themes embedded within the film. There may be a multitude of themes within one K-Film and these may interweave and intertwine, the boundaries of them blurred and wavering. An experience of a K-film can result in this rhythmic change of themes, as themes move and blur from one to another and back again, it forms a rhythm that works to define the idea of that K-Film. It allows for a deeper reading of the film, and allows the viewer to both understand the concepts that the creator is trying to make, as well as creating their own interpretation of the film due to their unique experience of it.
Within our K-Film, we have embraced the ideas of genres, and saw them as categories that can have blurred boundaries and shared elements and qualities. This is why there are repeated elements throughout our genres, such as repeated music and sound effects that appear through genres that share borders. Especially in modern ages, where most of the films we are exposed to rarely adhere to just one genre, but instead have qualities that are reminiscent of others. There are romantic-comedies, western-horrors, sci-fi dramas and more that display that we are experimenting with genre through film. We have chosen to mimic this in our K-Film, and as a result we have formed our own thematic rhythms of genre. These are rhythms of the genres themselves, and also of the actions that we display them in. We have structured our interface to support this, as each clip links to a clip of the same genre, as well as linking to two other clips of the same action. This allows for there to be two streams of thematic rhythm, yet through the order of the clips played by a viewer, they may see that these two rhythms have actually combined via genre and action, as well as symbolic elements that they may see repeated throughout the entirety of our K-Film.
Within the separate elements of: Horror, Sci-Fi, Western, Film-Noir, Fantasy and Soap Opera/ Drama , we believe we have created clear thematic rhythms through our exploration of what elements help define them. These are elements such as tone of voice, dialogue usage, colour schemes, pacing, sound, music and physical movement. To each genre we have largely stuck to conventions that are associated with them, but also created a form of parody with them. Whilst not explicitly appearing to be self-aware we have exaggerated these key concepts of each genre, such as; emphasised head turns to camera in Drama and gritty, boisterous dialogue in the Western clips. We have used a selection of clichés found in each genre, as we believed they would allow for readers to firmly grasp the idea of the genre they were experiencing. If a viewer decided to view all the actions of a particular genre, they would notice similarities in style and construction, and make associations that allowed them to identify the clip as belonging to a particular genre. This also forms a thematic rhythm, this continuation and slight permutation of elements within a genre helps create a melody of symbolic relationships. We have attempted within each genre to only include what we believed was essential for the understanding of that particular genre, to replicate and use the most used and well known tropes. We believed that this would further emphasise the genre as well as the elements within them, and this is how we believe we have created a relationship between the symbolic elements.
There are thematic threads of each trope or convention of each genre, and as we have noticed that genres are not resolute, nuances of these tropes have breeched the clips belonging to other genres. We hear music most relatable to the western genre, or sounds that are associated with Sci-Fi, which appears in other genres. This further expands the melody of our K-Film, as it is not limited to each action or genre stream.
The thread of the actions themselves, whilst they don’t form a particular narrative, we believed that viewers would strive to create one nonetheless, as it is in our nature and behaviour to order information into a pattern that we can understand and identify with. They are noticing that these actions have the potential to be related in some abstract way, and this can be likened to extract of noticing from John Mason. For the audience to create a less abstract narrative of these actions, they need to reflect upon the action clips themselves and how they could fit together. This need to create a narrative relies upon the viewer to notice similarities that join the clips together, and this further requires for the viewer to be actively engaged. This is why we have chosen mundane activities to experiment with, they are basic actions of greeting a friend or foe, entering a place or comforting another person. They are identifiable actions, ones that we believed viewers would be at ease with, and actions so basic at heart. This meant that even through the changes related to genre, they are still recognisable to the viewer. Though we feel that the rhythm and melody created by the genre strand, the action strands create their own melody of a disjointed narrative.
Consequently, when watching our K-Film, the thematic link between the clips becomes apparent between actions or even genres. When viewing each clip of a specific genre for instance, perfectly mundane actions are modified to mimic a certain style of cinema. We attempted to illustrate the individual and artful heightening of reality that each genre would impose on a mundane activity in order to allow it to exist in the specific world of the genre.
For instance, a genre that is experimented with is that of science fiction. Some examples of a mundane action are knocking on a door, or picking up a file of information. In the context of making it science fiction, the conception of camera angles, pacing, editing and music need to be attended to in order to allow for anyone to just watch the clip and know it is science fiction without having to be told. As such, this is achieved by use of dutch tilts, giving a sense of unease and mysteriousness that is present in sci-fi. A blue colour graded filter over the top of the image also gives a sense of somewhat heightened futurism, which is apparent. But most importantly, is the staging of the action itself. The door-knocking sci-fi scene serves as an exhibition for these considerations.
When the protagonist knocks on the door, he knocks with caution, as he is unaware of what could be on the other side. As the door opens and he bathed in a white light, presumably created by aliens; a supernatural phenomenon which is common to sci-fi. This common link is apparent throughout our exploration of sci-fi, as the clip of ‘retrieving information’ also ends with his being beamed by aliens after touching the file, after being warned “ that everyone who has touched it has disappeared”. This and other elements such as techno 1980s music serve as links for certain videos to be commonly connected in sci-fi. However, the action itself links to opposing genres. For instance, the clip of retrieving a file of information is sci-fi with these modifications, and is the same action shown in other genres. However, this same action follows a different genre, and so features different tropes commonly associated with that genre. For instance, the film noir version of the same action-clip is an information trade with the deadly femme fatale. The horror genre is represented by the protagonist having retrieved the information and having read some of it before learning the paramount information that leads to him then being kidnapped by a psycho into darkness.
In terms of the narrative detail explored in the genres, the narratives are different with no apparent link once you cross genre, but upon further inspection, the thematic link is principal and present.
Put simply, this plot-point can be summarised thusly:
“The protagonist retrieves a file which is of paramount importance and sets the plot in motion”.
While each genre explores the narrative elements around the plot-point, or beat, the core of the issue remains the same. This idea is the backbone for each of the actions we have portrayed.
Despite being a different plot and different twist to the act, the point of the genre study in this case is to explore how genres display similar plot-points, and yet explore them in radically different ways. This cements the idea of the genre study, that it is possible to take any universally understood act or story, and be able to transform it no questions asked to co-exist in any genre.
This exploration of plot-variation has allowed us to drench the genres in indicators of their style, and strengthen the thematic rhythms of each genre.
Thematically, universal story telling is not genre specific, and can be told in anyway. The story being told does not have to be dictated by what genre you operate in. And consequently, genre does not dictate what story you will tell, as it can be told in opposite genres. Universal story telling and the transmutation across genre being an essential to thematic rhythm, as it links the opposing genres of the same action through the universal understanding of the plotted actions narrative, and that in terms of universal understanding, is the same act. However, due to the fact that there is no actual narrative in the K-Film, it gives the opportunity for this kind of analysis in the piece. As said is the Shields reading “The absence of plot leaves the reader room to think about other things.” All that changes is the detailing.
Additionally, it is in that detailing where the genres themselves can become apparent to one another and differentiate themselves enough for viewers to comprehend what style is what. Thusly, each genre has a rhythm amongst themselves; rhythm itself being an element in the genres. As said in the Barthes reading “A work, conceived, perceived and received in its integrally symbolic nature.” The symbolic elements of a genre are partly what define it, and as such we can rely upon ‘reception’ and ‘perception’ to factor into audience understanding and enjoyment.
The detailing can be seen most apparently in camera angles, colour grading, acting style, and dialogue. The detailing is most noticeable due to the fact that every single action across the genres was filmed in the same location per action. You have the same location, but just tweak the details of the production, filming, and editing style of the clip, and you have it in a different genre. With each clip in a specific genre being tweaked to have the same detailing in order to make it feel at home in its genre. For instance, the genre of soap opera is the most interesting and noticeable example of genre detailing. In the initially filmed soap opera video, the approach of poor direction, and overtly campy and theatrical acting style was taken, in order to create the image of extremely artificial and manipulated drama that is apparent in soap operas. Further, upon review, it became apparent that continuity errors in staging and editing were a noticeable detailing element in soap opera. In one shot we would see the actor wearing a jacket, and in the next shot, he would have the jacket slung over his shoulder. Then he would run away, but cut to the next shot and he is casually walking. Having poor direction, over acting, and continuity errors all apparent across a range of videos despite the different actions, will link these videos as being in the same heavily dramatized genre of soap opera, as those are elements that are common and thus act as links between the videos.
Subsequently, the dialogue spoken in each of these videos of the soap genre also share a similar narrative pattern, as the plot detailing of film which does come from genre detailing can act as a link between videos. In the case of soap opera the dialogue consists of family double crosses, family secrets, affairs, family controversy and so on, such as “sleeping with evil twin brother”, “stealing life savings” and lovers “unable to be together”. These specific ‘twists’ were made in the interest of creating the extreme dramatization of daily life. An example of this detailing being specific to soap opera is apparent in the action of putting on an article of clothing. In the Horror version of putting on an article of clothing, we see the psycho very threateningly putting on his gloves, probably about to murder or torture the poor victim. Yet in the soap opera version, his buttoning up his shirt is accompanied by lustful and suggestive dialogue of “this was fun… but we can never do this again. If anyone finds out I was sleeping with my evil twin brother, it’ll all be over.”
This change in detailing comes from the notion that if you were to view a soap opera, narratively the only time he would be putting on an article of clothing would be after a controversial act of sex. Back to horror, the only time you would see an article of clothing being put on would be in building up to an act of extreme violence. Where the links between the same actions, is apparent in the similar story telling beats, the links between the same genre clips in different actions becomes apparent through the use of detailing. In the end, it is assumed that you would not confuse a horror clip with a noir clip or a fantasy clip with a sci-fi clip. The cinematic detailing is what gives the genres their individuality and is also what categories them, allowing them to share a “thematic resonance” (Shields 334) with one another.
The focus on certain detailing changes from genre to genre. For instance, in soap opera, it was made clear that over acting and dialogue are the key details in creating links between the soap opera videos. However, there is not as much importance placed on the camera work. Within the genre of western, the detailing has nothing to do with the acting or the dialogue, as it has the same possibility of being overdramatic, akin to the soap-opera. For the western clip, the detailing of camera work and music is what was intensely looked over. As such, to create a western video, the cinematography is purely cutting between extreme long shots and extreme close ups, with focus pulls in between with all shots being framed with absolute symmetry.
Furthermore, the camera is either steady as a rock, or moving with little to no speed, in order to give the slow pace, which the genre is known for. What is most fascinating about this aspect of genre creation is the notion that each of the western clips were shot with no hats, horses, taverns, deserts or gun fights what so ever. They are not even attempting to be truthful in the historical depiction of western cowboys, yet each of the clips true to that of a western style. This continues to show how specific detailing can create a thematic rhythm between each clip to specify genre.
Using nothing but a camera, 3 actors and editing rooms, a host of videos where created that each exist comfortably in the genre thanks to specific direction and detailing, creating Western clips that didn’t need horses, or sci-fi clips that didn’t need expensive CGI aliens. We have inadvertently shown that specific props or costumes are not always necessary in creating a multitude of genres.
Quite simply, the clips are linked with each genre linking to one clip of the same genre and 2 clips of the same action and so on and so on, watching this K-Film should give monumental insight into the in-depth study of genre transmutation we have pursued. The actions link different genres together, creating the effect that genre does not dictate the kind of story you tell. Consequently, the genre clips themselves link to clips of the same genre through detailing which demonstrates the categorisation of each genre, and the means to which the cinematic reality is heightened to the genres specific needs. The videos collectively link to thematically demonstrate that genre can be created through mood and direction, and is not in need of the monetary benefits, which are used to create upscale genres. Thus this K-Film displaces layered thematic link between the clips via many different pathways, as well as being a study of genre.
Robert Fantozzi s3381069
Neha Badiger – s3382869
Conor Woods – s3381539