The Art Film and the Genre Film

Art and genre criticism in four classic films.

An analysis of two genre films and two art films – Antonioni’s Blow Up, Kelly/Donen’s “Singin’ in the Rain, Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, and Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. The validity of both genre and art film criticism are examined.
By its failure to accommodate the excess generated by its subject matter, All That Heaven Allows is not only critiquing the genre of melodrama, it also exposes the contradictions and conflicts present in American bourgeois society (Bourget, 1995, 45). However the subversive excess and contradictions present in the film prevent it from being just another melodrama. Sirk worked within yet against the constraints of the Hollywood studio system to subvert the genre, and although the film is superficially a generic 1950s Hollywood melodrama, Sirk’s characteristic stylistic technique marks him as an auteur, a position usually associated with the art rather than the genre film.”