Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reflection and Response to The Mind on Film

Throughout my life, film has always been a source of pleasure and relaxation. It has always provided me with an escape from reality, even if only for a few hours. In those few hours of film my mind is brought to a completely different world. It was not until this class that I began to mix business with pleasure, because now my escape from reality had somehow become my homework. Watching film has always been an activity I could use to bond with others. It has provided me with the perfect relaxing social activity. I never had a remarkable opinion about the kinds of movies I preferred to watch, but would rather let the people I was with or mood I was in decide what kind of escape from reality I would be taking part in. While I frequently watched movies, I generally remained stuck in the stereotypical genre aimed at my generation and rarely expanded my horizons unless there was a significant plead by a fellow movie watcher. Overall, throughout my life the movies I have been acquainted with have provided me the pleasure of relaxing and escaping into a world different from my own.

I never expected that my source of pleasure and escape would one day become an assignment. However, when I found myself writing essays about different movies, I found an enjoyment that was rather unexpected. For me, the most enjoyable and interesting assignment was the critical essay done on Inception. This assignment involved a formalist approach to the film which I found intriguing because it involved a new writing technique I had never used. Inception marked one of the only movies I had previously seen outside of class. Therefore, watching the film again and writing critically about it allowed me to further pick apart certain aspects of the movie which I would have never thought of or noticed. This granted me the opportunity to think more in depth about the film and to further analyze the major and subtle aspects of one of my favorite movies.

Being that Inception was the only movie viewed in class that I had already seen, I enjoyed the opportunity to experience various new films. The movie I found most interesting and most enjoyable was Black Swan. I think that while the film possessed many science fiction elements, I found it to be the most realistic and therefore the most relatable. I also found it to be the most psychologically intriguing as it follows the journey of Nina through her psychological torment and deterioration into the character of the Black Swan. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme of perfection and how this affects Nina’s transformation from an innocent young girl into a dark and tormented black swan. The thrilling aspects of the movie kept me the most interested and engaged throughout the entire film. I found that the special effects greatly enhanced the movie and further expressed subtle aspects of the theme. One of the main reasons I enjoyed the Black Swan was that the plot cleverly followed Nina’s character which seemed to parallel the theme of the Swan Lake ballet. The film presented the psychological aspects of a young girl in a way which intrigued the audience and provided meaning to the plot.

After each movie was viewed, extensive discussion, writing and researching often took place. I found it interesting to observe how these aspects of the class affected my opinions and ideas towards the films. For the movies I enjoyed, I found that writing, discussing and researching the film didn’t seem to change my opinion, but rather gave me a better understanding and appreciation for things that I had not previously noticed or thought about. For some films, it seemed to make me like them even more. I found the researching and discussing of different films to be very intriguing because, while it didn’t change my opinion, it was nice to hear others opinions and ideas concerning the movie and gave me perspective on other ways the film could be viewed. I also found that researching, writing about, and discussing the films I didn’t enjoy that much greatly influenced my opinions and ideas towards them. It heightened my appreciation for the films because it drew my attention to certain aspects that I had not known about or understood previously. These aspects, such as the time period or the director, gave me a greater respect for the film. So while I may not have been completely intrigued by the movie, I was able to recognize different factors that show how well-made the movie is and why others find it interesting. I also found that the research done helped me to gather more background information which provided me further knowledge for forming opinions and ideas.

Movies have always been a relaxing and pleasurable activity for me, and this class has provided me with knowledge that will further heighten my understanding and critical writing of movies. Not only did I gain knowledge about the different techniques of writing about film, I also became a better overall writer. I learned how to create a solid thesis statement and how to format and construct a well-written paper. Through researching films I was able to learn more and perfect the art of scholarly research and citation. One of the main things I’ve gained from this class was the ability to think and write critically about a movie. I learned to look for subtleties and analyze how they further contribute to the film. Another thing I gained from this class was exposure to new movies which I had never seen before. It expanded my horizons to various genres, directors, and time periods different from the modern day films I have become accustomed to. I have had a great overall experience in this class as it has influenced both my writing and my approach to viewing films. I am glad I was given the opportunity to mix business with pleasure and I look forward to continuing my critical analysis the next time I escape from reality and into the world of film.

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