Romantic Melodrama Analysis

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Romantic Melodrama: Genre development illustration in films All that Heaven Allows and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Serving as a method of decoding the films, the emergence of the genre romantic melodrama succeeds in approaching the audience emotionally as well as intellectually by seriously deciphering the social flaws. Particularly, this is done through the delineation of virtuous and innocent lovers suffering from repressive prejudice and restrictions in the morbid society. As a matter of fact, both Douglas Sirk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder fully exploit the genre in their movies to examine the communities they stay with and thus contribute to the future development of this genre in the film industry. More interestingly, the fact that Fassbinder reproduced Sirk’s masterpiece to show his homage and to further convey his own ideologies enables the audience to study profoundly the evolutionary path of the romantic melodrama. Taking advantage of identical myths, while adjusting and evolving conventions and icons, films All that Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955) and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, 1974) substantiate not only the reflexivity of romantic melodrama, but also the genre’s progression in either thematic or aesthetic expression over decades; specifically, the latter film displays the vulnerability of love in a harsher way and hence questions the societal reality more radically.
One remarkable impact of the employment of romantic melodrama is that, with the sugarcoated story
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