Watching Movies

I’ve been making my way through Timothy Corrigan’s “A Short Guide to Writing About Film.” Here is a short passage from the beginning of the book:

“There is often an unspoken assumption that any kind of analysis might interfere with our enjoyment of the movies.

We are less reluctant to think analytically about other forms of entertainment. If, for instance, we watch a dance performance or a basketball game, we may easily and happily discuss some of the intricacies and complexities of those performances, realizing that our commentary adds to, rather than subtracts from, our enjoyment of an event. At these times, our understanding of and pleasure in experiencing the event are a product of the critical awareness that our discussion refines and elaborates on….

If the movies inform many parts of our lives, we should be able to enjoy them in many ways, including the challenging pleasure of trying to think about, explain, and write about our experience at the movies.”

Corrigan goes on to suggest that we go to the movies for many reasons: to think, and, of course, to not think. Or to do a bit of both. If I am curious about how a film is working to create a certain effect, or how it worked to make me feel a certain way, or how it challenged my thoughts and assumptions, writing is one of the best ways to learn.


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