Ed Buscombe states, “The idea of both inner and outer forms seems essential”. (Buscombe, E. 1970)Ed Buscombe explains that we can recognise genres through iconography. Each genre has a clear set of common rules in costumes, props, locations etc. Even though this is true and works for genres like western and gangster films, it’s not so simple for identifying fantasy genres, as they don’t follow the same codes and conventions. In Steve Neale’s theory of Repetition and Difference, Steve Neale states that “Genres all contain instances of repetition and difference, difference is essential to the to the economy of the genre”.
(Neale, 1980)This suggests that genres will have repeatable common elements that we will see over and over again; they will keep using them as long as they are successful, and will change them when they become unsuccessful. So by having subgenres and hybrids, gives it that a new unique interest. Genres evolve, borrow and adapt to keep the audiences interested. Contemporary films feature a lot more subgenres for example; superhero films now incorporate comedy into their genre to keep the superhero movie franchise more stimulating. Working with a hybrid genre allows me to experiments with the themes and ideas, combining all three genres into something different and unusual; to keep the audiences more engaged. From the research I discovered, films from genres such as fantasy, science fiction are often heavily stylised.
These genres demand an intense attention to design because of the additional struggle of constructing a world that appears abnormal, for example, Harry Potter. However, since the script has drama characteristics, I have decided to keep the narrative in the real world to make the story a more believable, so the audience can connect with the characters further. Formalist theory is frequently used to suggest certain emotions of mental states with the assistance of cinematic aspects such as set design. Formalism is primarily concerned with the way that it evokes different emotions, rather than focusing on the main themes that it is representing. This theory will be valid in Lifting Spirits since it is going to be an art piece, attention to the set design and the colour palette is vital to express the characters emotions throughout the film. “Expressionist directors are concerned more with an unabashedly subjective experience of reality, not how others might see it. Psychological or spiritual truths they feel can best be conveyed by distorting the surface of the material world.
” (Giannetti, 1990)Here, Giannetti explains that you can show the characters inner emotions through the aesthetics e.g. set design.
Since the script incorporates fantasy, drama and comedy, my choice in set design will be quite vivid and surreal, almost dream-like to create a different reality in the ‘real world’, exactly like what Giannetti states. The research on the fantasy genre has persuaded my choice on set design, making it heavily stylised. To achieve this, the prime colour palette I have chosen is yellow and red for the costumes and set design.
Yellow and red symbolising life and death. So for example, Felix, the protagonist will wear a yellow raincoat, and the spirits will wear a red piece of clothing to differentiate the two different worlds. I decided to use these colours throughout the film as reoccurring colours hold a deeper meaning, also adding to the unrealistic, stylised effect. I have taken inspiration from Wes Anderson’s work e.g.
The Grand Budapest Hotel. The exaggerated use of red and yellow is clear enough to point out, which has given him a signature style of filmmaking, making him an established auteur in his work. Maladroit Contrasting with Lifting Spirits, Maladroit is a less complicated script as it follows a common narrative structure with a clear genre. British social realism is a genre of film that focuses on current topics alive in a present society, which is represented by diverse ideologies.
This type of genre is all about keeping it authentic so it can be relatable to a vast audience. With this, comes the attention to set design and costumes to help establish the realistic aesthetic. “Realist film creates a world which is as recognisable as possible; and audiences understand it by drawing analogies between the world of the film and their own world.” (Turner 1993: 156) Since the script involves mental illnesses and drug abuse, which are recognisable situations, the vast audience would be familiar with these social problems in today’s society. From what Turner stated, the audience will be able to familiarise themselves with these circumstances, making it their own reality. From the research I have gathered, locations have to be of the working class nature e.g.
council flat, gritty areas. In terms of set design, since it is a social realist film, set design will be kept to a minimal with neutral cold tones in the bar and flat as they are already ‘real’ locations to give it a realistic grounded feel. Costumes will be kept simple and I will be referring to the specific demographic to fit the character’s profile of the modern day society, to add to the authenticity of the film.