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THE MOVING IMAGE GENRE-FORM GUIDE

Sublists: Experimental, Animation, Advertising


Contents | Introduction | Examples | Bibliography | Genres

Appendices: Experimental | Animation | Advertising


Experimental genre subdivisions:

This appendix is based on an original document prepared for the National Moving Image Database by Linda Tadic, and adapted for use here with permission

Absolute

Work where the image (usually abstract) and the music are in a symbiotic relationship.

Used for Visual music.

Examples: MOOD CONTRASTS; SAMAHDI; PERMUTATIONS

Abstract live action

Work that fragments or otherwise present live objects so they appear to be abstract.

See also Cubist.

Examples: TEXT OF LIGHT; H2O; LEAVES OF GLASS

Activist

Work that presents a specific political-social-economic agenda.

Used for Guerilla television.

Film examples: ONLY THE BEGINNING; THE NATIONAL HUNGER MARCH

Video examples: STOP THE CHURCH; FOUR MORE YEARS; GULF CRISIS TV PROJECT

Autobiographical

Work using the filmmaker as subject.

Film examples: TESTAMENT (1974); FILM PORTRAIT; (NOSTALGIA)

Video examples: WHY I GOT INTO TV AND OTHER STORIES; TRICK OR DRINK

City symphony

Work that presents a city's landscapes and activities in an abstract or impressionistic manner.

Film examples: BERLIN--DIE SYMPHONIE EINER GROSSTADT / BERLIN-- SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY; SAUSALITO

Cubist

Work following the Cubist art movement aesthetic of fragmenting objects and the human figure so they appear at times as abstract images. Such work was made primarily in the 1920s.

See also Abstract live action.

Example: BALLET MECANIQUE

Dada

Work following the Dada art movement aesthetic of juxtaposing seemingly nonsensical or unrelated images and vignettes, giving the appearance of spontaneous thought without necessarily having a deep "meaning." Such work often uses trick photography.

Example: ENTR'ACTE

Diary

Work that uses footage of the filmmaker's daily existence with long un-edited or in- camera edited sections.

Film examples: LOST, LOST, LOST; EUROPEAN DIARY '78; CHARMED PARTICLES

Video example: WEATHER DIARY NO. 5

Feminist

Work that presents a feminist critique of social and/or political-economic structures.

Film examples: SCHMEERGUNTZ; LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT

Video examples: A MAN'S WOMAN; SEMIOTICS OF THE KITCHEN

Gay/lesbian

Works made by gay or lesbian filmmakers in which the content reflects concerns associated with gay and/or lesbian life.

Examples: AN INDIVIDUAL DESIRES SOLUTION; GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM

Guerilla television see Activist

Intermittent animation

Work where a discernible image within a frame appears intermittently between sections of black or white leader, creating a "flicker" effect.

Examples: N:O:T:H:I:N:G; THE FLICKER

Landscape

Work in which the subject is a landscape or specific non-urban location.

Film examples: THE SKY ON LOCATION; FOGLINE; SEVEN DAYS

Video example: SOMBRA A SOMBRA

Loop

Work composed of a long piece of film spliced end to end so it runs through a projector or other apparatus for a potentially infinite length of time.

Examples: BRUSSELS LOOPS; INVOCATIONS OF CANYONS AND BOULDERS FOR STAN BRAKHAGE

Lyrical

A term used by P. Adams Sitney to describe films that present the subjective eye of the filmmaker: the viewer sees what the filmmaker sees. There is a feeling of gestural motion created by the camera movements and also through the editing.

Examples: VISUAL VARIATIONS ON NOGUCHI; ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT; VALENTIN DE LAS SIERRAS

Participatory

Work based on an event that requires audience and/or technician participation, in which the viewer's behavior determines the image or sound content of the work.

Film examples: LINE DESCRIBING A CONE; PROJECTION INSTRUCTIONS

Video Examples: MEM; ST. ELMO'S FIRE

Portrait

Work that can be evocative of an individual, rather than strictly biographical.

Examples: ALLISON; RED SHIFT; MUJER DE MILFUEGOS / WOMAN OF A THOUSAND FIRES

Reflexive

Work that uses motion picture history for their subjects, or films that are films about themselves.

Film examples: LUMIERE'S TRAIN (ARRIVING AT THE STATION); 24 FRAMES PER SECOND

Video examples: GLOBAL GROOVE; TELEVISION DELIVERS PEOPLE

Street

"Street videos" or "street tapes" were born and thrived during the late 1960s to mid-1970s. The style consisted of hand-held camerawork (1/2 in. reel portapaks) using only available light. The content of "street" videos concentrated on spontaneous interviews with people from all walks of life, in streets, workplaces, and in the community.

Video examples: LIFESTYLES: AN EXPERIMENT IN FEEDBACK

Structural

Work that concentrates on form rather than content. The work may base its structure on an exaggerated aspect of motion picture technique (for example, a 40 minute slow zoom or an eight hour stationary shot of the Empire State Building), or on viewers' relationships with the cinematic apparatus.

Note: Use Reflexive for work that uses the medium and technique as its subject.

Examples: WAVELENGTH; SERENE VELOCITY; ARNULF RAINER

Surrealist

Work following the Surrealist art movement aesthetic of allowing the subconscious to make free associations with images and content. Surrealist work is similar to Dada in that at times both juxtapose seemingly nonsensical images and vignettes, giving the appearance of spontaneity. However, while Dada is rooted in visual and verbal "puns" used for the sake of their own enjoyment and absurdity, Surrealist work use this technique to explore social and political issues.

Examples: THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN; L'AGE D'OR / THE GOLDEN AGE

Text

Work whose primary images consist of text.

Film example: SECONDARY CURRENTS

Video example: TELEVISION DELIVERS PEOPLE

Trance

A term used by P. Adams Sitney in describing films that have a protagonist "who passes invisibly among people," archetypal images, and ends with the protagonist confronting their past.

Film examples: AT LAND; BLOOD OF A POET

Visual music see Absolute


Animation subdivisions

Abstract animation

Type of animation without narrative, concentrating on abstract visuals.

Examples: DIAGONAL SYMPHONY; MOTION PAINTING NO. 5 (1947)

Cameraless animation

Type of animation in which the images are drawn directly on the film stock, rather than photographed.

Examples: BEGONE DULL CARE

Cartoon use Animation (with the form Short)

CGI see Computer animation

Clay animation

Type of animation which generally uses plasticine or clay, such as the "Claymation" work of Will Vinton or the Wallace and Gromit series.

Examples: THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN (1985); CREATURE COMFORTS; THE WRONG TROUSERS

Collage animation see Cutout animation

Combination live action and animation

Type of animation which may combine live action and animated imagery, such as the "Out of the Inkwell" series.

Examples: FLIES / KOKO SWATS 'EM; THE THREE CABALLEROS; VYNALEZ ZKAZY / AN INVENTION OF DESTRUCTION / THE FABULOUS WORLD OF JULES VERNE; WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT

Computer animation

Type of animation in which the visuals are composed predominantly of computer- generated imagery.

Used for CGI.

Feature examples: TOY STORY; TRON

Cutout animation

Type of animation using still photos and cut-outs to form a collage.

Used for Collage animation.

Examples: FRANK FILM; HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC; SOPHIE'S PLACE; FIRST ABSTRACT FILM EXERCISE (1949); UNE IDEE / L'IDEE / THE IDEA (1931)

Intermittent animation see Experimental

Pinboard animation see Pinscreen animation

Pinscreen animation

Type of animation created with the use of an upright board containing closely placed protruding pins that create shadow designs.

Examples: NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN (1934)

Pixillation animation

Type of animation which generally uses humans or other live subjects filmed incrementally in various fixed poses, creating an unnatural or surreal effect when played back at normal speed.

Examples: NEIGHBORS (1952)

Sand animation see Silhouette animation

Silhouette animation

Type of animation using intricately cut-out paper figures silhouetted with backlighting. Variations of the technique use backlit sand or other materials.

Used for Sand animation.

Examples: DIE ABENTEUER DES PRINZEN ACHMED / THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED; THE CLOWN AND HIS DONKEY; THE GALLANT LITTLE TAILOR; SHAKA NO SHAGAI / THE LIFE OF BUDDHA

Time-lapse animation

Type of animation filming live action one frame at a time at periodic intervals, then projecting the footage at the usual 24 frames per second.


Advertising subdivisions:

Company promotion

Work which promotes a company or industry, usually by detailing noteworthy accomplishments, but does not actually promote a product or service. Such work is typically commercial-length, from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.

Note: Use Sponsored for works of greater length.

Examples: ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND; GENERAL ELECTRIC

Infomercial

Work promoting a product or service that usually lasts at least 30 min. An infomercial uses elements of television shows such as a talk show or a panel so that it will resemble the format of a television show more than that of a commercial.

Examples: VICTORIA JACKSON COSMETICS

Political commercial

Work which promotes certain candidates, political parties, or political views, varying in length from short commercials (a few minutes or less) to longer programs lasting an hour or more.

Used for Political spot.

Promotional announcement

Work which promotes a network or promotes a particular television show.

Public service announcement

Work which promotes certain charitable causes or types of behavior, such as promoting contributions to the American Cancer Society, encouraging girls to join the Girl Scouts, urging people on the behalf of The U.S. Treasury Department to purchase savings bonds, or encouraging people on behalf of the American Dairy Association to drink milk.

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  April 28, 2016
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