Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unlocking Worlds of Thought

I find myself to be the type of person who enjoys mental stimulus. Actually, I crave thought like an addict to his drug. However, this particular thought druggy won’t settle for the mediocre schwag out there, no, I won’t even try it if I can’t smell it from across the room. That being said, I’ve buried my face into many books in pursuit of intellectual and analytic thought, but very few of these books were novels. I just never saw the point in just reading for entertainment, and much the same, I never saw the point in sitting on my ass for two hours to watch a movie. I always thought there was something more worthwhile, more stimulating and intellectual to think about. However, after this class I think some change might be in order in my approach to intellectual thought through films, and novels.
While watching a movie, before this class, even if the movie was entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat, after the movie had ended I would still be left feeling like I had just wasted two hours, being lazy and not really being productive in any aspect of my life. Through the discussion and analysis of the films we have watched in this class, I have come to realize that films (and presumably novels as well) bring much more to the table than just entertainment. With even a rudimentary introduction to the elements of film a whole world of ideas is opened up to the viewer, much beyond simply viewing the film for entertainment.
I first began to realize there to be something more to film after our viewing of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I had never watched a movie so early in the morning before, at least not this attentively and awake. As I walked out of the classroom that day I was astonished at the feeling the movie had created in me. As I walked out of Ellis Hall I questioned whether or not I should even attend my next class as I drifted dreamily toward Gordy Hall. However this wasn’t a pleasant, stumbling dream-world I was in. In fact, I hated it, and wanted nothing more than to shake it. But at the same time, I was simply fascinated by this completely new experience film was creating in me.
I would have chalked it up as a fluke, maybe something in the coffee, or maybe I hadn’t eaten enough that day, had it not been for the viewing of Amélie shortly after. However, undoubtedly related to the content of the movie, again this dream world set upon me like a thick blanket. I couldn’t help but smile as I stepped outside into the sunshine and stood for a moment watching the busy streets bustling with students, smiling and chattering almost comically, as if in a cartoon. I expected to hear the chattering cartoons speaking in French, but no matter that they didn’t, I was still in France. I hopped on my bike and road back to the apartment. Atop a newly fashioned wooden table, sat a sandwich, salad, and a glass of wine as I looked out from my balcony over an unusually green Athens landscape.
My experience with the film Amélie made this film a top candidate for my favorite movie and assignment. Amélie left me in such a good mood, that writing about the film as well was no trouble at all. However in a much different way, the movie Suspiria is close behind Amélie in terms of favorite movie. Suspiria was by far the most interesting film when being analyzed from the perspective of the elements of film. There were so many unusual techniques used from lighting to sound that certainly made the film stand out among the rest. What also made this film so interesting was the fact that during the initial viewing many of the unusual techniques go over looked, and subtly aided in the overall experience of the film. Only through the discussion and analysis of the film did these subtle techniques surface, and explain how and why the film came across so eerie and unusual.
Writing about these films also helped the analysis of them. Through the group discussion and the reviewing of certain parts of the films we were able to more objectively look at the film from the outside of its grip, and allow for a clearer and more analytical written analysis. In putting together the written analysis, we the viewer and writer had to come to our own conclusions on the individual films, and taking what we had learned apply the different elements of film to our own perception of the film, while also taking into consideration the points brought up through the group discussion. With the process of the viewing of the film, the group discussion, and the formation of our own thoughts and perception of the film we were able to apply everything we were learning (elements of film, writing styles, review vs. analysis etc.) to the papers.
With the practice and experience I received in approaching film from this class, I have built a foundation upon which I can now take a once seemingly “useless” medium and continually apply the knowledge I have gained and use this medium as a means to my love for analysis and thought as opposed to mere entertainment. This realization is even bigger than the world of film though, and holds true for all sorts of writers, poets and artists, and their works. I believe that any writer or artist has a reason for their piece, much greater than for mere entertainment, and in realizing that through this class about film, I have unlocked entire new worlds in which to get lost in thought.

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