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We are in danger
chapterposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sean RedmondSean Redmond, Leon Marvell
Genre films are constructed out of narrative patterns and plot points that involve or are predicted on crisis, on danger. This is the logic of much if not all mainstream genre cinema: drama has to take place for there to be a story to be told, and for pleasure and identification to be arrested and enthused. Forms of threatening disequilibrium can be personal, domestic, familial, local, external, supernatural and murderous; a way of life can be threatened as well as life itself. There are ideological dimensions at play; the crisis threatens to destabilize patriarchy, heterosexuality, social norms and expectations. Feelings and modes of affect are set in dangerous motion as the crisis unfolds. Trouble may emerge from a wayward or transgressive family member, or it may arrive in town on horses, stagecoaches, trains, cars, spaceships, and on the wind and in the water. The main (and minor) characters in the film are at the center of this storm, and that places viewers at the epicenter of the danger, also. The genre film places us all in danger. The genre film, then, has phenomenal, phenomenological and bio-political potential as a site of cognitive, ideological and carnal endangerment.