Monday, June 6, 2011

The Mind on Film - Reflection on Newly Aquired Knowledge

My ability to observe, analyze, and write about films that I have watched has definitely improved after taking English 308J - The Mind on Film. The task of watching a movie for entertainment while simultaneously trying to capture and interpret various aspects of the presentation is something I was unfamiliar with. My experience in The Mind on Film class was accentuated by making necessary adjustments and eventually gaining noticeable improvement in my writing, watching movies that I thoroughly enjoyed and discussing them during class, and retaining knowledge on analysis and writing that I will be valuable to me as a writer in the future.

Prior to taking this course, I had not done a lot of writing based on film viewing. I consider myself a quality and rider and an avid film fanatic, but I had never really combined these two hobbies. So, primarily, I had to work on analyzing elements of the film and then describing them thoroughly in my papers. It was new to me. Appreciating the entertainment of the movies while examining scenes and characterizations and editing was not terribly difficult for me, but it was a bit of a working progress. Furthermore, connecting these observations with a theme or thesis that I’ve created was also a key component in my improvement as a writer. I have always enjoyed watching movies and picking up on little subtleties in films, I just had to work on producing these assessments on paper and making them relevant.

The writing assignment I enjoyed the most during the class would probably have to be Amelie because of the unique style of this French film. I have never watched a French film before, and it was very interesting to watch the progression of this movie. I really had to think about my observations while watching the movie and attempt to determine what relevance some of the very small aspects had. Colors, character reactions, and specific events could not easily be summed up and directed towards a certain theme in the movie; it required careful analysis and connection of prior instances in the film with events later on.

The movie that most interested me would have to be either Amelie or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Before this class, I had not seen either of these movies, so watching something new obviously had a factor in my level of enjoyment over a movie I had previously seen such as Inception or Black Swan, although I think that both of those movies are great and I enjoy watching them as well. Amelie is a top preference of mine for the reasons I previously mentioned focusing on the distinct formalism of the movie. Scott Pilgrim most interested me because I really underestimated the quality of the movie before I had even seen it. It was a pleasant surprise. The humor of Scott Pilgrim and the unique plot, which mixed a real life problem of a young man’s attraction to a female with fantasy world conflicts and battles, made it an incredibly fun movie to watch.

I do not think that discussing and writing about the movies we watched in class changed my opinion about them. I was still able to enjoy the movies and gather relevant information from my observations that were significant in analyzing the purpose of the various films. However, researching actually helped me in this class in a way that I was exposed to someone else’s opinion about a specific movie. This either helped me to solidify my argument if I agreed with the source, or forced me to strengthen my argument if I disagreed. Additionally, research from credible sources brought aspects of the movie to my attention that I may have not have noticed, or included historical evidence that I may not have been aware of. In a movie such as Suspiria, background information on Dario Argento and his mindset in creating this movie was crucial in my understanding of his utilization of such noticeably vivid colors. It increased my ability to grasp the movie and the significance of each scene.

The knowledge that I am taking away from this class will be very advantageous in my writing in the future. I have learned how to construct a stronger, more focused thesis. By creating a thesis with three specific topics of discussion, my papers are now better organized. My writing has also changed a bit because I am able to implement small details more efficiently because of the improvement of my analysis skills. I am able to describe the significance of what I pick up and interpret while watching movies and base them in my arguments as key points or connectors. I know that I will effectively be able to continue to use these changes and improvements in my writing.

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