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The times of the genre: transforming rules into experiences

Sergio Wolf, director of BAFICI, in the book El cine y los géneros: conceptos mutantes. 13th edition, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film.

Although we are aware that genres are capable of transversally and not diachronically crossing culture, when mention is made of genres in films, reference is rather made to the films of the so-called “classic era” and, transitively, the idea of genre is associated with the idea of classicism (was it Calvino or Pound who said a classic is something beautiful that we conserve?). If so, we could talk of “classic genres” as systems created to group films made during the “classic era” of North American films.
But just when the theory seems to spread a light of guidance, dark areas paradoxically appear because it is the same handful of films that is almost always mentioned –Casablanca, Bringing up Baby, The Maltese Falcon, Frankenstein, Stagecoach– although none of these condenses the degree of generic purity that is intended by selecting them as examples. They all show a transition of elements that is often specified as “genre traits”. We may venture further and ask ourselves for the inconvenience that almost all great films of that period suffer or must have suffered when attempts were made to define them in terms of genre, as happens with most films by Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles himself.
If we accept that, then we can take one more step and say that it is very difficult to categorize the great films of the classic era into classic genres, because –in the words of Raoul Ruiz– they broke the synchronicity between art theory and the political system of a nation, which brings us to another question: which films may, therefore, define a cinematographic genre? And the answer will take us back to these same films…

The complete text can be found at the 49FICXixón catalogue

Mutant Genres

Displaying all 10 elements
  • - aquelequeidoagosto.jpg

    Aquele querido mês de agosto

    Our Beloved Month of August
    Running time: 150 min.
    Cast: Sónia Bandeira, Fábio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho, Armando Nunes, Manuel Soares, Emmanuelle Fèvre, Paulo Moleiros, Luís Marante
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Miguel Gomes
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    Dharma Guns (La succession Starkov)

    Dharma Guns
    Francia, Portugal
    Running time: 93 min.
    Cast: Guy Mcknight (Stan Van Der Decaen), Lionel Tua (Jon), Diogo Doria (Dr Ewers), Stéphane Ferrara (Arthur Strike), Alexandra Fournier (enfermera)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    François-Jacques Ossang
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    Essential Killing

    Polonia, Noruega, Irlanda, Hungria
    Running time: 83 min.
    Cast: Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner, Zach Cohen, Iftack Ofir
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Jerzy Skolimowski
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    Los pasos dobles

    The Double Steps
    España, Suiza
    Running time: 87 min.
    Cast: Bouba (François Augiéras), Miquel Barceló (pintor), Zol (jefe bandidos), Hamadoun Kassogue (Corifeo y coronel), Amon Pegnere Dolo (Amon), Amassagou Dolo (Amassagou), Abinum Dolo (Abinou), Soumalia Sabata (Ibrahim), Djenebou Keita (mujer joven), Mahamadou Camara (joven albino)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Isaki Lacuesta
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    Miss Bala

    Running time: 113 min.
    Cast: Stephanie Sigman (Laura Guerrero), Noé Hernández (Lion Valdez), Irene Azuela (Jessica Berlanga), Miguel Couturier (General Salomón Duarte), Gabriel Heads (Agente Bell), James russo (Jimmy), José Yenke (Kike Cámara)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Gerardo Naranjo
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    Road to Nowhere

    Estados Unidos
    Running time: 122 min
    Cast: Shannyn Sossamon (Laurel Graham/Velma Duran), Tygh Runyan (Mitch Haven), Dominique Swain (Nathalie Post), Cliff De Young (Cary Stewart/Rafe Tachen), Waylon Payne (Bruno Brotherton), John Diehl, Fabio Testi, Nic Paul, Lathan McKay
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Monte Hellman
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    Running time: 85 min.
    Cast: Stephen Spinella (teniente Chad), Jack Plotnick (contable), Wings Hauser (hombre en silla de ruedas), Roxane Mesquida (Sheila), Ethan Cohn (Ethan), Charley Koontz (Charley), Daniel Quinn (padre)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Quentin Dupieux
  • Valhalla Rising

    Valhalla Rising

    Dinamarca, Reino Unido
    Running time: 90 min
    Cast: Mads Mikkelsen (One Eye), Maarten Stevenson (el niño), Gordon Brown (Hagen), Andrew Flanagan (Gudmond), Gary Lewis (Kare), Gary McCormack (Hauk), Alexander Morton (Barde), Jamie Sieves (Gorm), Ewan Stewart (Eirik), Matthew Zajac (Malkolm)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Nicolas Winding Refn
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    Running time: 89 min.
    Cast: Carlo Ferrante (Georges Saint-Germain), Vera van Dooren (Bertha Saint-Germain), Pierre Lognay (Samson Saint-Germain), Fleur Lise Heuet (Grace Saint-Germain), Paul Ahmarani, Alexandra Kamp, Julien Doré
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Vincent Lannoo
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    Youth in Revolt

    Estados Unidos
    Running time: 90 min.
    Cast: Michael Cera (Nick twisp), Portia Doubleday (Sheeni Saunders), Jean Smart (Estelle Twisp), Steve Buscemi (George Twisp), Zack Galifianakis (Jerry), Ray Liotta (Lance Wescott)
    49 edición - Géneros mutantes
    Miguel Arteta
Displaying all 10 elements