A Short Guide to Writing About Film

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 09/10/2011 10:58 PM

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When a person has only ever watched movies for the entertainment value, it may be intimidating to enter a circumstance in which he will change his viewing habits and expectations. Discussing or writing about film beyond the average dialogue to some may feel as though it would dilute the wonder or encumber the level of enjoyment in the experience; Just as discussing the science behind a flower’s creation would complicate the beauty in a simple luxury. Timothy Corrigan argues a different point of view in his writing A short Guide to Writing About Film.

Corrigan addresses the question of film analysis inhibiting the enjoyment of a movie by comparing film to sports events. A basketball game can be enjoyable to watch for the mere spectacle; however one who knows the rules and can pick out the subtleties can become more involved. Sports fans relish in the technical skill displayed by their favorite players as well as being able to jump to their feet to call fouls and goals before the referee has blown his whistle. They paint their faces the color of the team and become involved in the game not just because they support a certain city, but because they recognize and appreciate every detail that goes into playing the game. Corrigan says the same attitude can be applied to further appreciate film. One who is conscious of the components used to build a film will recognize themes in screenplays from his favorite writers and directors. Corrigan also remarks that film analysis can be useful when convincing others of our opinion on a film or when trying to decipher our own response to the picture. Understanding analyzing film expands the level of enjoyment in the experience just as knowing the rules in basketball can heighten the intensity in attending a game. The analysis of film can spark cultural and political debates such as how Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ brought about discussion of anti-Semitism.

Having never analyzed film beyond the most basic of...