Genresand Genre Film: Elf Film
Elfis a Christmas Comedy Film that was shot in 2003 in America. It waswritten by David Berenbaum and directed by Jon Favreau. The firstrelease was done in November 2003. The film presents the story ofSanta’s elves Buddy. This is a person who discovered his trueidentity as a human being and went to New York City in search for hisbiological father. Buddy had grown up in North Pole neighborhood, afactor that denied him a sense of humanness as he lived among theelves. Papa Elf, another character in the film, took him and made himan apprentice to help him in his repairs. Buddy found himself too bigwhen compared to the elves in North Pole, hence unable to fit intotheir lifestyle. Leon, the Snowman, convinced Buddy to go to NewYork to look for his father. Buddy`s life in New York was full of newexperiences. He met and interacted with many people such as thepediatrician, Gimbel`s Manager, and Daniel Tay amongst others. Duringthis time, Buddy loved freely, hated some people, and even foughtothers.
Thestory and the plot in this film have been critical in developing thecomedy genre. The story started with a complicated setting whereBuddy used to live with the elves. After that, we saw him go to NewYork and start a new ‘human` life. This setting provides a platformfor Buddy to act in comical manner as he tries to adopt to the newenvironment, hence making all sorts of jokes and ‘mistakes’, attime intentionally, just to make people laugh and develop the genreof the film.
Infilms, the comedy genre entails use of humor as a driving force toelicit laughter from the audience through the use of entertainingcharacters and stories. Despite the comedy films dealing withcritical issues, most of them have a happy ending. Mostly, comedyfilms easily fall back on popularity and success of an individualstar as opposed to many other films. The direction and intensity oflighting is mostly used in films to influence the perspective of theviewer. In this case, Elf film uses the comedy extensively, and thisis highlighted by use of high-key lighting. According to Goodykoontz& Jacobs (2011 ch. 4.4), design and use of high key lightingresults into brightest light, characterized by few shadows and lowcontrast between the darkest and lightest parts of a scene.
InElf film, lighting has been used to enhance the comedy genre andcreate an atmosphere that is light-hearted, and which allows focusingon characters and theme instead of focusing on foreboding and darklighting. This technique has enhanced the correlation of the genreand plot of the film. Therefore, any changes to the lighting wouldhave changed the experience and overall feel of the audience. Assuch, connecting with some characters like Buddy would have beendifficult[ CITATION Cha11 l 1033 ].
Goodykoontz& Jacobs (2011, ch. 4.4) noted that a scene shot in low-keylighting is “marked by extreme use of deep shadows” hencecompelling the audience to perceive the scene as being more dramaticthan comical. In this film, lighting has propelled the comical genresince itt translates to the laughter and light-heartednessexperienced by Buddy in the film. His audience seems entertained allalong.
Fromthe clip above direction of light and intensity is minimal and itcreates a natural feel. Despite the scene depicting betrayal andoutraged emotion by Buddy, lighting is still high key and makes thescene appear and sound comical.
Accordingto Goodykoontz & Jacobs (2011, ch. 4.4), high key lighting iscritical in ensuring that the characters are seen easily while makingthe scene appear comical. This implies that if the scene above wasshot in low-key lighting characterized by the use of extreme shadows,the viewer may have perceived it as dramatic, sad and unexcitingrather than comical and happy. Therefore, high-key lighting iscritical technique for films with plots that are funny, and isnormally good-hearted in nature. In this film, lighting is theperfect choice to illustrate Buddy and his naivety character, and itenhances the overall feel of the audience.
Conventionsand Attributes of Comedy
Comedyfilms can be classified alongside other films that trigger a distinctaudience effect such as romance, thriller or horror. The comedy genreis recognized because of the feeling it instills to the audience. Infilms, comedies are very crucial. The comical elements must beincorporated in such a way that they create a clear mix of laughter,as well as fulfilling the objectives of the film.
Inmost cases, a comedy genre tends to occur in bright places and inlocations that are mostly used for social events[ CITATION Vie05 l 1033 ].Also, many comedies use naturalistic camerawork in a manner thatportrays the equality amongst the characters. The diegetic soundssimilar to dialogs are normally clear and can be laughed at, and atother times, edited sound can be used. Lighting a major factor incomedy films as it creates a realistic environment, with happy andbright colors enhancing a happy mood[ CITATION Wei03 l 1033 ].Another major convention and attribute of comedy is the comicalcharacters. Mostly, idiotic people are preferred to normal people asthey can easily show contrast of personality and emphasis onstupidity. Therefore, in the Elf film, use of bright lighting andcomical character Buddy, qualifies it to be a comedy. Also, thesetting of the comedy is mostly on social grounds, for instance,Buddy lived among the elves at first, and then went to live with realhumans in New York. This provides the platform for Buddy to behave inall manner of ways. For instance, he found himself too big to testthe toys for the elves. He also demonstrates naivety of the highestorder after he went to New York to look for his father, and he was tostart interacting with real humans, an opportunity that he did nothave earlier on.
Charles, W. (2011). Cross-Talk: Language, Space, and the Burns and Allen Comedy Film Short. Film History 23(3), 300-12.
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Viera, J. D., & Maria, V. (2005). Lighting for Film and Digital Cinematography. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Weiss, E. (2003). Elf: A Junior Novel. New York, NY: Price Stern Sloan.