the evolution of a genre; the evolution of a genre

For this assignment, you will study the evolution of a genre, in the way that we have been studying the
Detective Thriller in class. Working with two thematically linked films in your genre from different
periods and outside research from at least three sources to help you identify the genre’s history, myths,
conventions, and iconography, you will develop a thesis about the genre and how it works across time and
in an ever-changing culture. THE TWO FILMS YOU SHOULD COMPARE ARE IN THE SCIENCE FICTION GENRE. FIRST FILM: Metropolis (1928), SECOND FILM: Zardoz (1974). Your paper should consider how genre creates meaning in these two films
and how this reflects a larger argument about the genre’s relation to the culture in which it is produced
(both the U.S. social culture and the Hollywood industry).
This is, first and foremost, a paper about genre. Your films are illustrative examples of the genre within
a historical/cultural context that will help you understand how and why it has changed over time. They
will also help limit your focus, as not every generic myth, convention, or icon will be relevant to your
films and your thesis. You are not simply discussing your films’ similarities and differences. Your
argument and analysis must demonstrate a historical understanding of the genre and how your films work
within the genre. You should examine the generic myths, conventions, and iconography at work in the
films, as well as the ways in which the style (or formal elements) influence how audiences understand and
interpret these various generic elements. For example: How is the convention of the lone gunslinger
different in a classical versus a modernist Western? How is this difference indicative of the broader
changes in the genre between the two periods?
Choose one of the genres on the Google Sheet with a pair of films on which to write a 6-8 page paper
(~1800–2400 word), using both original analysis and outside research. As with Paper Two, you will be
expected to develop your own thesis and then argue that thesis with a coherent and organized discussion
of the topic. Your thesis must make a claim about how and why your genre has changed over time and
engage with the class concepts on Genre and the Classical, Postclassical, and Modernist periods
(whichever apply to your films).

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