Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The British Film Institute (BFI) & Into Film's online course, Teaching Literacy Through Film. Join the course to learn more.


The mise-en-scène of a film helps us to determine its genre (the type of film). Genre is very important to audiences (and therefore filmmakers) as it helps us to distinguish the types of films we may like to go to see.

You can tell the genre of a film by examining the mise-en-scène; the filmmaker will demonstrate the genre by the use of recurring motifs or clichés such as a full moon or a graveyard within a horror film. A galaxy setting and spacecraft would suggest the sci-fi genre. Genre is common to film and literary texts and is a great way of introducing students to textual analysis.

What genre do you think is suggested by the images below?

western scene horror scene

Below you will find our Genre Conventions Table for use in class. The table has columns for genre, typical props and objects, themes, characters, settings and plotlines. In class, you could screen a variety of trailers and students could use the table to interrogate each one and establish the genre using the table to provide evidence for their decisions.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: