Blog Post 6 – Lessons Learnt

Coming into the course, it was clear that the study involved would allow me to think deeper, and in new ways, about the analysis of film. In a reflective fashion, I feel the course has been difficult but has taught me plenty about the fundamental aspects of film, including the roles each key crew member has. Prior to this course I had no idea what a cinematographer does, but I can certainly appreciate their work now…

Given the opportunity to critically examine cinematography concepts in two movies I had never seen before the course, this gave me the opportunity to assess them without prior favouritism or bias. Granted, I’d still personally enjoy them had I seen them before the course, but this helps apply critical thinking without getting too attached to the film.

I’d learnt that there are always new and interesting ways to unpack a film. Discussions in class, while at times an interesting experience, allowed me to see the subtext or other major themes in the film which I did not originally notice. Using theory like this, in combination with a renewal of practice-based and qualitative research (that I had not used since high school) allowed me to understand that everything in a film – shot selection and length, motivated lighting, editing, etc. – is there for a reason and benefits the overall product in some way.

In the process of researching for assessments 1, 2 and 4, the application of information to the essays proved to be rather difficult. Despite the somewhat recent nature of the two films I had selected – Gravity and The Revenant – later finding out that the cinematographer you had picked doesn’t like performing interviews all that much makes the role secondary research so crucial. Using plenty of interviews from others who had worked on the two films allowed for an interesting look at Emmanuel Lubezki and how he weaves his cinematography style into the films. Of course, it was necessary to find references that actually contributed to the project as a whole – on occasion with my speech, I found myself using references that did not provide accurate or effective reasoning towards my chosen topic and I feel that hurt the quality of it somewhat.

Of course, there are times when it was possible that I could go deeper into the film theory on offer to me. The gargantuan amount of articles, interviews and videos on these two films, due to their critical success, meant that I was never lost for content, but if I wanted to explore the ideas further, there was a lack of critical analysis on the subject. This made certain parts of the final assessment, especially locating data on Lubezki as an auteur.

Still, the assessment has taught me to critically assess movies in a deeper fashion when watching them casually, in order to see how different films are held together by their film characteristics, so to speak. Being involved in the course has given me a greater understanding of the major principles of contemporary film-making, and now I can apply these ideas towards movies in the future.

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