Thursday, May 21, 2015

Film Analysis and "Striking While the Iron's Cold"

One of my all-time favorite films
The title this week comes from a comment of one of my favorite film critics on a reddit AMA. I read it ages ago, but the sentiment of this comment has stuck with me, especially since it resonates with my approach to writing posts.

I never review or discuss current movies.

I can even remember multiple times (in my more pretentious days) going to see movies with friends, and then when they asked whether or not I liked it, I would just tell them that I couldn't say yet. I understand now that's not really what you do in social situations, but I really like to dissect a movie before I feel I can say anything beyond my surface feelings.

So, let me just stop there for a moment. Surface feelings are valuable. I know that now, and it took me a long time to learn.

However, striking while the iron's cold allows you to analyze a movie and ask why you feel the way you do. You get to dissect the jokes, dig into the subtext, research cinematography, and anything else you need to do to understand what elements are at work behind what you are seeing. And the best part is that you don't have to hang your feelings on the patterns you do or don't find - because those surface feelings are still there and they still happened. Even if you realize that a movie you love is a terrible film, by certain standards or according to certain major theorists or critics, you can still love it.

Besides, learning about films more, diving into the emotional and intellectual responses that come so naturally while we're watching them is the kind of experience that enriches us as human beings. And doing so while the emotions are not so fresh in our memory allows us to analyze them without returning to or being consumed by them again.

Plus, it also helps you to avoid telling everyone else that they are wrong (Refer to sentence that reads "Surface feelings are valuable").

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