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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

If This Is A Rom Com, Kill The Director...

Okay, okay, the song was on the radio while I was writing that post title!

During my research for my genre article over at Twelve Point I was lucky enough to talk to many writers about their thoughts, but time and space meant I coulodn't include all of them or everything they said (boo!), so I'm going to put their thoughts here instead. Here's Steve Lawson, writer and director of The Silencer: if you read this blog regularly, you'll know I'm well up for Brit Film - and if that Brit Film happens to include extreme violence then, all the better! Here are Steve's thoughts on genre...
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It's easy for film-makers and critics to forget that most people in the audience are not cinephiles, they're just regular people who want to be entertained. A good genre film should give people exactly what they want to see, and can transcend cultural and social boundaries because they play on primal senses such as fear and exhileration, rather than requiring an intimate knowledge and understanding of the society in which the story takes places. This is why martial arts film from China are a big hit in the West, but family dramas are not.

My film "The Silencer" is a martial arts/revenge thriller. I chose to work in these genres because I think visual action and the notion of avenging the death of a loved one are things that people from every corner of the globe can understand. It's also a matter of budget of course; martial arts is traditionally a low-budget genre and often works best that way.

Convention is extremely important to genre films - it's the conventions that actually make a genre, and if you break them you're arguably not really working in a genre at all. "The Silencer" combined two sets of conventions, those of the revenge thriller (think "The Exterminator" and "Death Wish") and those of martial arts movies, specifically Hong Kong movies from the 1980's which had an energetic brutality that is rarely seen these days. I think we got it right, as we have been accused by one reviewer of ripping off a Steven Seagal movie called "Hard To Kill" despite the fact that I've never seen it and know nothing about it! I can only assume we both followed the same set of genre conventions a little too closely.
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The Silencer Official Website

The Silencer on IMDB


Buy The Silencer

5 comments:

Dave said...

Back when I lived in deepest, darkest Grimsby, I use to help organise a genre film festival and we screened Steve's first film Insiders. Therefore I'm really glad to read that he's still making action movies.

I do find it disheartening that all action films made in Britain are DTV. We have the domestic production talent available yet for some reason, and I don't think it is the quality of scripts, we never have a British action movie make it onto the big screen.

Is it simply that we need to have our action heroes to have an American accent before we accept that they can kick ass?

Jason Arnopp said...

Steve Lawson is my kinda guy. Anyone who even knows what The Exterminator is, is all right by me.

DavidM said...

Yeah, I was gonna say: his first reference point for revenge thrillers is The Exterminator!

Jeez, flashbacks of the early days of video and being too too young to see someone being lowered into a mincing machine.
Ahh, golden years, my friend. Golden years.

Jason Arnopp said...

People don't get lowered into mincing machines nearly enough these days. Not even in film.

Script Demon said...

You made me do it. I really didn't want-a. I really didn't want-a...

Ok, you got your post and I got some shit out of my system.

How you doing?