Reflection on “How to Read a Movie”

Having taken a class in cinema studies, I felt as if I was sitting in English 245 listening to the professor’s lectures on cinema. Much of the information that Roger Ebert mentioned in “How to Read a Movie” was information that I learned in English 245, however, presented differently. It was interesting to read this article because I had a good understanding of what Ebert was talking about. However, I do wish he went into more specific details about a director’s role in cinema.

I was surprised he did not mention was the term “auteur”. In English 245, we focused on auteurs for weeks, as they are so significant to cinematography. An auteur is a director that shows a specific style or art in his work. An example of an auteur is Baz Luhrmann, who directed The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, and Moulin Rouge. Each film shows a similar style of “twinkling” effects and a glamorous lifestyle.

One thing I learned from this article was the positive and negative tendencies shown within a film. I never really noticed the effect that a film shot tendency would show until reading that part of the article. I started to think of films that used positive and negative tendencies, and one film that came to mind was And Then There Were None, which had a positive and negative focus on characters throughout the whole film.

This article was a great way to reiterate many ideas I learned about in cinema studies class, but it did teach me about some new techniques as well. Since taking cinema studies, I haven’t been able to watch films the same way. This article just gave me a few more things to look out for when watching a show or film.

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