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English 120
September 10, 2013
Recognizing Hybrid-Genre: A study of film posters.
This report focuses on the use of Hybrid-Genre technique for films. For this purpose, I have chosen three film posters as tools to show how hybrid-genre films look like. Films chosen for poster analysis are Slumdog Millionaire, Twilight and Bride and Prejudice. Each poster is thoroughly scrutinized in order to see how posters inform the viewers of what to expect in the film. It is also highlighted that a good film poster comes up to the expectations of the audience of the film by representing all the genres incorporated.
Film itself being a genre of performing art has its own multiple sub-genres. Hybrid-genre, also commonly known as cross-genre, is a practice of blending two or more genres. In the film posters selected for this report, I have tried to highlight this genre-blend by critically analyzing the posters. For a single genre type film, it is comparatively easy to analyze the posters since each and every element of the poster is contributing to one genre that the film is based on. Hybrid-genre film posters, on the other hand, are trickier to analyze. Not only their audience can miss some of the information present in the posters but there are also chances of the posters failing to project what actually is the sole purpose of the posters, or some posters may be intentionally designed so as to focus one dominant genre and leave out the rest for the audience to find out after watching the movie. Since hybrid-genre can be a blend of any number of different genres, to focus my research, I have chosen romance to be one common genre in all the film posters while other genres may differ. Romance being a genre in itself has its specific features and characteristics that the audience of this genre might expect. The film posters of this genre usually feature a couple that appears to be in love. Their facial expressions are usually those of happiness and content if the movie is to end happily. However, their facial expressions can also be somber that clearly reflects a tragic end. The colors in the posters are bright and pleasing that complements the happiness and the love that the couple shares. But if the film is to end tragically, the color choice may vary to suit the expressions of the personas on the poster. Usually the background of such posters is plain white and anything that is foregrounded is the lovers around whom the stories revolve. While focusing on romance as a genre, I have highlighted how different films of one dominant genre can still blend multiple other genres.
I intentionally secured posters of the films that I already had seen. It helped in looking at the posters more critically. Slumdog Millionaire, like every India movie has multiple posters, so the choice of one representative poster was difficult. However, in my Google search, I chose the poster that seemed the most accurate regarding the representation of the film's theme and genre. I intended to choose the posters of the films that contained at least one common genre. The selection of the first poster helped choosing the other two as well as the first was typically representing a romantic movie, so I chose romance to be the common genre in all three. This choice focused my research and I looked for hybrid-genre movies that had romance as their primary genre. During my Google search, I came across many posters of romantic movies but I chose Twilight and Bride and Prejudice for these seemed more accurate in representing romance plus other genres that the respective films are based on. To check the authenticity of the posters I went to IMDb, a website that is reliable source of information. I could also confirm the year and date of release of the movies from this site.
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan. It is an adaptation of the novel Q & A by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup. The lead characters include Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan khan. The setting of the entire film is Mumbai, India. The film is primarily in English with some dialogues in Hindi with English subtitles. The poster is very interesting regarding its layout as there is nothing in the background except the white space, and whatever is there is foregrounded. It has two teen-agers standing very close to each other and their facial expressions are those of exuberance. The male actor has his fist in the air and he is looking toward something. The girl is also smiling brightly and she is also looking toward the same direction. There is multi-colored confetti falling on them. The first sentence on the poster is: "The International best seller" (fig.1). The title follows in bold bright colors. With the title is the name of the director and below the title is the name of the author of the story the film is based on. On the bottom right of the poster is a multiple choice question that resembles taglines of the films. It says: "What does it take to find a lost love?". It also offers four answers to the question: “A:Money, B: Luck, C: Brainpower D: Destiny” (fig. 1), however the right answer is not highlighted. Second poster is for the American film Twilight (2008). It is based on Stephenie Meyer’s popular novel of the same name. It is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and produced by Wyck Godfry, Greg Mooradian and Mark Morgan. The lead actors are Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. The poster of the film is interesting in the sense that both the lead characters are overshadowing the entire space and the background is dark. The characters are also dressed in black. The only colors in the poster are those of the girl's golden brown hair, matching with those of the boy's eyes, and their facial complexions. The girl's face has a mild pinkish tone while the boy's is very white. The girl looks like a teenager whereas the boy appears to be mature. They are standing very close to each other with boy's cheek almost resting on the girl's forehead while she has her hand resting on the boy's chest. There is a light emanating from the boy, illuminating some of the features of the girl too. The girl appears to be expressionless but the boy seems very serious. The girl seems to be looking at us (audience) while the boy is looking somewhere else. The title of the film is on the bottom right and it also is sparkling. Film's tagline is written on the right top in smaller font, reading: "When you live forever, what do you live for?" (fig. 2). The third movie poster is that of Bride and Prejudice, a 2004 movie. It is directed by Gurinder Chadha, produced by Gurinder Chadha and Deepak Nayar and written by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha. The basic story line follows the British novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The film is primarily in English with some Hindi and Punjabi dialogues with English sub-titles. The lead characters are Aishwarya Rai and Martin Henderson. The poster foregrounds both the lead characters who are standing back to back in a jovial manner. Male character is laughing and watching up while the female character is also cheerful but looking sideways. The man's head is resting on woman's. He is standing crossed armed while she has her hands behind her. There is confetti falling on them and the people in the background seem to be laughing and rejoicing. Taj Mahal can also be seen in the background. The sky also reflects pink, blue and purple color, matching with the confetti. On the top of the poster is a statement saying: Bollywood meets Hollywood… And it's a perfect match." The title of the film is very bold and in bright colors. Below the title is written: "From the director of Bend it Like Beckham" (fig. 3).
First glance at the poster of Slumdog Millionaire gives the impression of the film being a typical romantic film. The girl and the boy standing very close to each other look very happy. This is a marked trait of romantic comedies that end happily. The title of the movie is intriguing and paradoxical that takes the audience's imagination a little farther. How can a slum dog be a millionaire? This creates suspense. The suspense element is heightened by the multiple choice question at the bottom of the poster that asks a question very unusual for its type. It not only adds to the suspense but also to the love theme of the film. The way multiple choice question is designed quickly reinforces the audience to relate it back to the word "millionaire" in the title. Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is one of the most viewed quiz programs in India. This link also enables the audience to solve the mystery a bit by understanding that the slum dog might have become the millionaire in the show. The boy's fist in the air and happy face are complemented by the confetti falling on them which gives a hint to the celebration of becoming a millionaire and also finding a lost love. The very title prepares the audience to look at the protagonist in two position-- a slum dog and a millionaire. This duality is present throughout the film as it moves along in a portmanteau style (portmanteau literally means a large trunk opening in two parts) . However the poster only reflects what happens after he becomes a millionaire and finds his love; the other themes that also build up the other genres in the movie are not highlighted. The Twilight poster, like that of the Slumdog Millionaire also gives an impression of the film being romantic. The gesture of the characters show their closeness to each other, however there are no emotions of love visible on their faces. This gesture also gives an impression as though the girl is seeking protection and the man along her side is there for her. The light emanating from the boy also suggests that with him, the girl gets out of darkness that already surrounds them. It also gives him an aura of being more than a human. The title of the film and the way it is presented complements both the darkness and the light in the poster. The word twilight may symbolically suggest both life and death and so do light and darkness symbolically stand for. The tagline is also very symbolic as it refers to immortality. So the girl might be seeking protection from the death and the light surrounding the boy is a promise of immortality. This element of the poster may take its audience's expectations a little farther than that of a mere romantic movie. It calls for imagination and may take the audience to expect the film to be a fantasy. Bride and Prejudice's poster like a typical romantic comedy shows a very happy couple in the foreground. The confetti falling on them and the people dancing in the background seem to be celebrating the union of the couple. Even the sky seems to be rejoicing as the colors of the sky match with those of the confetti. The Taj in the background as a symbol of love, further enhances the love theme of the film. The tagline prepares the audience to see a combination of Indian and American style of the movie. The lead characters also represent Bollywood and Hollywood. The standing posture of the characters and the happiness on their faces is a little intriguing. It symbolically reflects the love that they are eventually to fall in and also the "prejudice" that they hold for each other. This also heightens the drama element of the film.

Conclusion All the posters discussed are those of hybrid-genre films; however, one consistent genre among all three was the romantic. Romance being the dominant genre in all three was the most obvious in the posters. Nevertheless, close scrutiny of the posters also helped to dig out other genres that were incorporated in the films and presented through the posters. The Slumdog Millionaire could be located as a romantic-suspense-comedy. The poster of Twilight clearly hinted at its romantic and fantasy element. Bride and Prejudice could be viewed as a romantic-comedy-drama. In a nutshell, hybrid-genre films still have one dominant genre and one or more genres to complicate the plot of the film and the good posters do represent all that the audience should expect from the film.

Works Cited
Eros Entertainment. Movie Poster. Slumdog Millionaire. 2008. Print.
Pathé Pictures International. Movie Poster. Bride and Prejudice.2004. Print.
Summit Entertainment. Movie Poster. Twilight. 2008. Print. |





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