Paper instructions: “Ideology, Genre, Auteur” by Robin Wood Thesis statement- Robin Wood’s essay examines film theories and seeks to explain why “ideology, genre and auteur” are all vital to consider when talking of film. Wood argues that when evaluating and examining film, a “synthetic analysis” (Wood, 723) that goes beyond a more one dimensional analysis (like “auteur theory”) is most appropriate, as many factors intertwine in the creation, implementation, and successes of a film. Support/argument summary- Various movies are examined such as Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Hitchcock films. Wood demonstrates that these films and their intertextuality prove that examining each film with the same ideology, focus on author (auteur theory), or genre-related conventions would result in an incomplete analysis. A more complete understanding of a Hitchcock film would result from examining how “small-town-family elements and the Catholic elements are threads weaving through a complex fabric…ideological and generic determinants are crucial (Wood, 723)” Examining films in a broader context can prove to be helpful. We need to understand film as a caterer to different perspectives, opinions and beliefs. Different films might show either a good or bad town as “equally valid images of America (Wood, 722)”. Overall, Wood believes that Hollywood film reviewers should consider “interaction and multiple determinacy (Wood, 726)” during analysis of film. Through this process the reviewer should come away with a better understanding of the film—what, how and why it achieves or fails.    Critics & theorists referenced/criticism and theories expounded on, proposed or mentioned- Wood mentions Andre Bazin earlier in the essay in relation to how Bazin’s theories fail to examine films fully, by not taking into account different values, ideas and assets which comprise a film as a whole. Merely focusing on “realism” or the “author” may result in an incomplete analysis. Wood also mentions Robert Warshow’s essays in relation to gangster and western film genres, and how Warshow like Bazin didn’t take a broad enough approach in his analysis. Although Wood didn’t bring up many other theorists or critics, he certainly considered the ideas and theories which relate to genre, auteur and film noir.
What worked in this essay and what was hard to grasp?   The ways in which Wood provided a list of various terms was a helpful and important starting point. This allowed the reader to understand that ideologies, genres and other conventions are already rooted into films, and rooted into us as a people. Terms like ‘capitalism’ and ‘work ethic’, to ‘ideal male’, ‘settled husband’ and ‘erotic woman’ are terms that might define or portray the ways in which we imagine the world to be. This is what film does for us—melodramas, film noir, and all other types of films portray our world while influencing and being influenced by ideas, genres, artists, and society. Wood talked a great deal in his short essay about various films, and although this was helpful, it might’ve been more beneficial for me if he explained in more detail how other film theorist’s ideas relate to his own. How and why is this material pertinent to the class?
Did this reading add value to the subject matter? Why/not?
What was new that you learned? This material is pertinent to class because it brought to light the importance and complexity of deciphering film—it is not a one-step process. We all have different values, beliefs, opinions and thoughts, yet we often enjoy the same things. Film theory and the critique of film should ideally take a broad perspective, yet at the same time it is primary to focus on what is most important to oneself. Wood’s theory isn’t complete, neither are the other theories presented before him. Therefore this material is relevant because it helps us further understand films we watch, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the film process as a whole. This reading added value to the subject matter in relation to film theory/critique as an ever-expanding process. An example of this is how the essay was written in 1977 yet is still relevant in this current day. As far as learning new information, I learned several new words and have come away with a better understanding of ideas, genre, and auteur and how all these factors connect in the construction and deciphering of film. References: Wood, Robin (1977). “Ideology, Genre, Auteur”. Film Comment, Vol. 13. Leo Braudy, Marshall Cohen (Eds.), Film Theory and Criticism. (Pp.717-726) New York: Oxford University Press Kolker, Robert. (2006). Film, Form & Culture (3rd Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.  

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